Event: The Expression Agenda

Event: The Expression Agenda - Civic Space

Article 19 Event at Altitude, Milbank - 9th September 2015. www.edtelling.com

On Wednesday 9 September, ARTICLE 19 presented ‘The Expression Agenda’– our new strategy for work in the coming six years – to an audience of international donors and human rights experts.

The Expression Agenda sets out a vision of a world in which all people can freely express themselves and meaningfully engage in public life without fear or discrimination.

The global realisation of our ambitious new strategy is underpinned not only by freedom of expression and information, but through other rights including belief, privacy, participation, assembly and association, fair trial and more. As such, we frame our vision and mission within two freedoms:

Freedom to Speak – this beingthe right to express and disseminate opinions, information and ideas through any means and to dissent and question powerholders.

Freedom to Know – this being the right to demand and receive information held by powerholders for transparency, good governance and sustainable development.

ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director, Thomas Hughes (above) kicked off the event with the presentation of our new Theory of Change: founded on three core beliefs: firstly, that strong law and policy is the foundation for realizing the rights of all to express, and to seek, receive and impart information; secondly, that accountability and transparency of powerholders is key for the realization of human rights and sustainable development; and thirdly, that an active and empowered civil society is essential for employing the rights to expression and information to pursue dignity, equality, good governance, and sustainable development.

We also presented our Theory of Engagement, within which ARTICLE 19 seeks to achieve its aims by taking local experience and knowledge and driving them to the international level, informing key decision-making processes and power-holders. These processes can then be used at the national level, creating enabling environments for the exercise of the freedoms of expression and information. ARTICLE 19’s activities will function at three levels: law/policy, campaigns, and programs.

A new and crucial element of The Expression Agenda was also presented for the first time The Mx Method: ARTICLE 19’s Approach to Gender and sExpression– a cross-cutting approach to gender and sexuality which will inform every element of our work in the future.

The event also featured an expert panel discussion chaired by the broadcaster Jon Snow. Peter Greste, Heather Rogers QC, Michelle Yesudas, Paddy Coulter, Henry Maina, and Barbora Bukovska took questions on the Freedom to Speak and the Freedom to Know – providing a compelling narrative to many of the thematic issues ARTICLE 19’s Expression Agenda will seek to address.

Following this, attended by partners, donors, and experts, there were a number of consultative workshops held, centred around our five central thematic areas of work: Digital, Media, Civic Space, Protection, and Transparency.

The detailed feedback and intelligence gathered from this important event will help us to fine-tune The Expression Agenda’s targets and activities. It is already helping us advance new and existing partnerships, and we will be publically launching the strategy early next year.

It was a remarkable day and an ambitious new approach for ARTICLE 19, and we look forward to turning the Expression Agenda into measurable gains for freedom of expression and information across the world in the years to come.