June 2021 in Africa: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Reyhana Masters, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa pays his last respects to the late former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda during his state memorial service, in Lusaka, Zambia, 2 July 2021, -/AFP via Getty Images

Behind the eSwatini protests

The protests and violence rocking the kingdom of eSwatini reflect the years of frustration and pent-up anger of citizens, weary of King Mswati III and his government’s total disregard for their concerns. The government’s disproportionate clampdown — under the shadow of an internet shutdown — with dozens killed and many others tortured, detained, or abducted, , is par for the course. As is the non-appearance of the King.

Intermittent…


June 2021 in the Middle East and North Africa: A free expression roundup produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Naseem Tarawnah, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

London, United Kingdom, 3 July 2021. A man wearing a mask featuring an image of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and holding a noose takes part in a demonstration against political executions in Egypt, Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images

Egypt’s judiciary becomes a tool of state repression, Palestinian protesters targeted by ‘thugs’ and teargas, Iran’s new President signifies country’s impunity crisis, and the human rights community pays tribute to Emirati human rights defender Alaa Al-Siddiq:

Egypt: Judicial persecutions and weaponized terrorism laws

Attacks on independent media and civil society organizations continue unabated. Founding executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and prominent human rights defender Hossam Bahgat faces a third case being brought…


June 2021 in the Americas: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Paula Martins, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

A demonstrator holds a sign against police violence in Brazil, during a protest in Sao Paulo, 14 June 2020, Diego Baravelli/picture alliance via Getty Images

Justice in sight

21 years ago, Alex Silveira was taking photographs for his newspaper at a demonstration in the main avenue of the megalopolis of Sao Paulo, in Brazil. It was a large protest of teachers and civil servants asking for salary increases and better working conditions. As in so many other demonstrations in Brazil, protesters were peacefully marching down the business centre of the city, when the military police arrived to disperse them. Police brutality…


June 2021 in Asia-Pacific: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s regional editor Mong Palatino, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Activists hold copies of the shuttered Hong Kong paper “Apple Dailly”, during a protest on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, California, 1 July 2021, FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

The closure of a pro-democracy newspaper after it was raided by the police signals the demise of press freedom in Hong Kong. Pakistani media are alarmed over attacks targeting journalists. Several investigative journalists and Twitter were charged by Indian authorities over a viral video:

Raids, arrests, and a newspaper closure in Hong Kong

The month of June started with Hong Kong authorities any activity commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, and it ended with news about the closure of independent newspaper Apple Daily.


June 2021 in Europe and Central Asia: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Cathal Sheerin, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Protesters are detained by police in central Istanbul, Turkey, on 26 June 2021, as hundreds of LGBTQI+ activists defied a ban and tried to stage a gay pride event. BÜLENT KıLıÇ/AFP via Getty Images

June saw the Belarusian authorities crank up the pressure on independent journalists, Istanbul police attack LGBTQI+ people and journalists at a Pride march, and Hungary adopt legislation reminiscent of Russia’s so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law. But the month also saw important progress in the battle against impunity in Slovakia:

A black hole for media freedom

In Belarus, the month began with detained blogger and NEXTA editor Raman Pratasevich , this time on state…


May 2021 in the Middle East and North Africa: A free expression roundup produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Naseem Tarawnah, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Journalists sit on the rubble of the al-Jalaa Tower, which housed international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip 15 May 2021, MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

Israel and social media platforms censor Palestinian voices, impunity for killings spark outrage in Iraq, and campaigns of repression in Egypt and Saudi Arabia continue unabated:

Silencing Palestinian voices

Front line journalists and activists throughout the occupied territories faced attacks and arbitrary by Israeli forces while covering Palestinian demonstrations in recent weeks. Thousands of Palestinian protesters living in the occupied territories and in Israeli towns and villages have also been met with…


May 2021 in Africa: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Reyhana Masters, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

The release of 30 balloons into the sky by Gwen Lister (R) and Zoe Titus (L) marks the unofficial finale of the UNESCO WPFD conference, Windhoek, Namibia, 3 May 2021, Photo: Guy Berger

On 3 May, the release of 30 balloons into Windhoek’s night sky by Gwen Lister — Namibia’s national champion of the 2021 UNESCO World Press Freedom Day conference — and Zoe Titus of the Namibia Media Trust, marked the unofficial finale of the global conference.

It also marked the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration in 1991, which paved the way for promotion of freedom of expression, envisioning a free, independent…


May 2021 in the Americas: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Paula Martins, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Demonstrators wear a black cape with red hearts painted to honour the victims on the front line of the national strike, during a protest organized by relatives of victims of enforced disappearance, in Medellín, Colombia, 27 May 2021, Fredy Builes/Getty Images

A month of protests in the streets of Colombia

At least , according to the Public Defender’s Office. Thousands have been injured. Hundreds have been missing for days. The country has witnessed — live — repeated episodes of police brutality.

The protests in Colombia were triggered by a tax reform, but deeper structural problems seem to be driving the demonstrations. …


Be Safe, Not Silent. IFEX adopted this phrase in 2020 as a kind of touchstone, to help guide our work through the pandemic. It signals that we are doing all we can to stay safe, while pursuing our mission of upholding, defending, and exercising the right to freedom of expression. The In Our Own Words project is an example of this approach.

“How can we capture and leverage what we’ve learned so far? By documenting our experiences during COVID-19, and the activities of our respective civil society organizations, and looking at our own personal experiences, and sharing them.”

Malcolm Joseph…


May 2021 in Europe and Central Asia: A free expression round up produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Cathal Sheerin, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

People hold pictures of NEXTA editor Raman Pratasevich and journalist and political prisoner Mikola Dziadok, during a March of Solidarity with Belarus, in Krakow, Poland, 29 May 2021, Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto

Belarus dominated the news once again in May with high-profile raids on media outlets, mass arrests of journalists and the utterly outrageous state-hijacking of a commercial airliner. The month also saw Turkish authorities impose further restrictions on journalists reporting on police activities. In Russia, we saw further moves to squeeze civic space, but also partial justice for persecuted journalist Ivan Golunov:

“Criminal hijacking”

Even those of us who are used to reading about…

IFEX

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email:

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