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August 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.

Supporters of Zambian President-elect for the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema wear party regalia, in Lusaka, Zambia, 16 August 2021, MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images

Zambia’s election restores hope

The peaceful transfer of power in Zambia following opposition presidential candidate Haikande Hichelema’s victorious win over incumbent President Edgar Lungu in the 12 August election restored some hope. It was a far cry from the excessive violence and disruption that people were expecting.

Among the many vital takeaways from the election is that youth are at the centre of this turning point. It is undoubtedly the country’s youth who cast the deciding ballots in…


August 2021 in 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.

A demonstrator confronts a police officer during a rally in support of the leader of the PDL party, and in opposition to the current government, Tunis, Tunisia, 3 September 2021, Hasan Mrad / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Spyware targets Bahraini activists. Tunisia and Algeria’s worrying state of free expression. Prisoners of conscience denied medical care in Egypt and Iran amidst the pandemic. Enforced disappearances persist amidst unaddressed impunity:

Spyware attacks and unchecked mass surveillance

A new report from Citizen Lab and Red Line for Gulf identified nine Bahraini rights workers, including three staff members of IFEX member Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), who were hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware between June 2020…


August 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 picture of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro behind bars is seen during a demonstration against his administration, in Sao Paulo, 7 September 2021,NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

A perfect storm

A recent report by ARTICLE 19 — Global expression Report: The State of Freedom of Expression Around the World — describes Brazil as a country where freedom of expression is “restricted”. “Brazil is the perfect storm of contemporary expression issues: autocratic populism, disinformation, acute inequality, and technological control. The pandemic consolidated trends seen in [2019].”

The country seems to be part of a regional trend, since in the Americas, according to the same…


August 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.

Kabul, Afghanistan, 31 August 2021. Taliban special force fighters (R) and a journalist get up after falling from a vehicle at the airport, after the withdrawal of US troops from the country, WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

Groups called for the protection of journalists and citizens at risk in Afghanistan, participants of #Lawan protests were summoned by the police in Malaysia, threats forced Hong Kong’s largest teachers’ union and pro-democracy coalition to disband, regulations against disinformation were introduced in Thailand and South Korea, and women journalists Rozina Islam, Maria Ressa, and Cheng Lei remained defiant despite facing persecution:

Protecting journalists and citizens at risk in Afghanistan

The fall of the Afghan government and the rapid rise to power of…


August 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.

Kiev, Ukraine, 3 August 2021. People hold flares during a rally in front of the Belarus embassy, protesting the regime and in memory of the head of a Belarusian NGO in Ukraine, who was found dead in a park. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

August saw the Belarusian Supreme Court liquidate Belarus’s two most prominent free expression organisations and the Russian authorities deploy ‘foreign agent’ designations to stifle dissent ahead of September’s elections. The month also saw Turkish lawmakers move to exert greater control over social media, Kyrgyzstan adopt a ‘false information’ law, and businessman Yorgen Fenech indicted for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia:

Belarus: Unhappy anniversary

August marked one year since the disputed presidential election in…


July 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.

An activist holds up a banner during a demonstration against alleged government spying on journalists and human rights defenders outside the Attorney General’s Office, in Mexico City, Mexico, 23 June 2017, Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images

Canada regulating the internet

In Canada, debates around Bill C-10 continue to develop. The bill’s goal is to update the Canadian broadcasting legislation to cover online streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify and bring them under the authority of the broadcasting regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The text seems to bring some interesting provisions, for example:

  • all “broadcasters” operating in Canada should disclose basic information regarding corporate ownership, revenue, expenditures, catalogue titles and…

July 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.

Supporters of President Kais Saied set up the Tunisian flag on the roof of a store as riot police stand guard in front of the parliament building, in Tunis, 26 July 2021, after Saied decided to freeze parliament and sack Hichem Mechichi’s government. Chedly Ben Ibrahim/NurPhoto

Power grab in Tunisia amidst a clampdown on free expression, judicial harassment of Egypt’s rights defenders, and Israeli Pegasus spyware revelations spur calls for a moratorium on surveillance technology to MENA’s autocratic governments:

Tunisia: Muzzled press and a power grab

On 25 July, Tunisian President Kais Saied invoked Article 80 of the constitution, freezing parliament and sacking Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in a move widely described by critics as…


Reflecting on events from the first half of 2021, IFEX’s Middle East and North Africa Editor Naseem Tarawnah explains how increasingly sophisticated digital surveillance tools are being sold to and deployed by authoritarian states in the region to target human rights defenders, and how civil society is defending the right to privacy and digital free expression.

Source: IFEX

IFEX’s Regional Spotlights offer an antidote to the overwhelming amount of information people are deluged with every day. Each piece analyses recent regional trends to empower readers to engage more deeply with freedom of expression and information issues. You can find them all here.

Preamble: The Context


Reflecting on events from the first half of 2021, IFEX’s Europe and Central Asia Editor Cathal Sheerin explains how the Lukashenka regime’s crackdown on Belarus’s independent media and civil society is being challenged at every turn — and often thwarted — by small groups of journalists and activists in the diaspora.

Source: IFEX

IFEX’s Regional Spotlights offer an antidote to the overwhelming amount of information people are deluged with every day. Each piece analyses recent regional trends to empower readers to engage more deeply with freedom of expression and information issues. You can see them all here.

Describing it as 21st Century…


Reflecting on events from the first half of 2021, IFEX’s Asia and Pacific Editor Mong Palatino explains how recent massive citizen protests and pushback against Asia’s digital authoritarians can provide lessons on what we need to do to support the region’s pro-democracy movements and human rights campaigns.

Source: IFEX

IFEX’s Regional Spotlights offer an antidote to the overwhelming amount of information people are deluged with every day. Each piece analyses recent regional trends to empower readers to engage more deeply with freedom of expression and information issues. You can find them all here.

Since January 2021, our region has witnessed a phenomenal…

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

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