Freedoms of Expression & Information

World Press Freedom Day was celebrated
on 3rd of May. Yet this year alone, 21 individuals all
over the world to date have been killed because of their work as journalists,
and many more are missing (Committee
to Project Journalists
). As new digital communications
technologies enable new opportunities for the creation, expression
and dissemination of news and perspectives, these spaces are not
invincible from the policing of State and other equally impactful,
but often submerged, socio-political norms. GenderIT.org explores the
gender dimension of freedoms of the freedoms of expression and
information.




This edition has been difficult in
coming. We arranged for an interview between guest writer and ICTs
advocate, Katrin Verclas, with Manal Hassan, a prominent
communications rights activist based in Egypt. This was also aimed to
be in support of Alaa Abdel Fatah, her partner and also active
blogger on freedom of speech, who was detained together with more
than 300 activists during a peaceful protest on 7th May
2006. They were arrested under the Egyptian Emergency Laws allows for
15 days detention without trial that can be indefinitely renewed.
More than a month later, and after a third renewal of the 15 days
detention, Alaa is freed and continues to blog with Manal in
follow-up of the other activists still in detention.



On 12 June 2006, several thousand
participants in a peaceful women's rights protest who demanded
changes to family laws and legal discrimination against women in
Tehran faced extreme violence. A large number of police and security
forces arrived at the scene, and ended the protest by attacking the
crowd with batons, and pepper gas. According to the spokesperson for
Ministry of Justice , 70 persons were arrested during the course of
this protest. However, this does not include the arrests that
happened prior to the protest, where women's rights activists,
student activists and also bloggers were summoned to court and
interrogated. Since then, others have been summoned for interrogation
by phone or in writing, including Sussan T, an active women's rights
and ICTs advocate from Iran. We contacted Sussan to help render
visible the situation that women rights activists are currently
facing in Iran, and to issue a call for support.



Understandably, at such critical
moments, finding time and resources to write or engage in interviews
is difficult. Prioritising the urgency of these two events,
genderIT.org decided to postpone the edition for a month while
attempting to continue our contact with both Manal and Sussan. It has
been a troubled month of silence.



These two events demonstrate louder
than ever that the spaces for us to freely speak our minds, opine our
thoughts, access information and engage in democratic processes is
narrowing. As such, this edition is also a call for the renewal of
commitment towards these fundamental freedoms.



For more information about the
situation in Iran, please visit: WLUML Action Update: Support Iranian Women - demonstration 12 June 2006
For the status of the internet in Iran,
see: “Access is denied: a report on the status of the internet in
Iran

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION & INFORMATION EDITION:

Featured Articles:


Featured
Resources:

Add new comment