AWARDS
Fellowship Update: An important element of Index's work
18 Jan 2019
BY PERLA HINOJOSA

The Index Awards Fellowship has become an important element of Index on Censorship’s work – allowing us to help those on the frontlines of defending free speech around the world. Each fellow receives a structured programme of assistance including capacity building, mentoring and networking. Over the course of a year, we also help them accomplish a key goal that will significantly enhance the impact or sustainability of their work.

The 2018 Fellows are continuing to thrive:

The Cuban artists behind the Musuem of Dissidence received their 2018 Freedom of Expression Award at Metal Southend. (Photo: Pixalvision for Index on Censorship)
The Cuban artists behind the Musuem of Dissidence received their 2018 Freedom of Expression Award at Metal Southend. (Photo: Pixalvision for Index on Censorship)

Arts fellow the Museum of Dissidence, led by artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and art curator Yanelys Nuñez Leyva, have put themselves on the line in the fight against Decree 349, a vague law intended to severely limit artistic freedom in Cuba. In November, the two were arrested for peacefully protesting the law. Index campaigned for their release at a solidarity protest at Tate Britain.

Having missed our Freedom of Expression Awards ceremony in April 2018, we were thrilled to present Nuñez Leyva and Otero Alcántara with their award in October at Metal Culture Southend, an arts centre where they were taking part in a two-week residency.

Campaigning fellows the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms continue to highlight human rights abuses and provide support for those facing repression. The group has expanded its reach by opening two new offices around the country and has benefited from technology training provided by Index. Amal Fathy, wife of ECRF executive director Mohamed Lotfy, was released from prison in late December after eight months in detention for her online criticism of sexual harassment in Egypt, but a two-year prison sentence was upheld against the activist, raising fears she could again end up behind bars. Index continues to campaign for Amal at international level.

Guy Muyembe of the Digital Activism Award-winning Habari RDC at the 2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship)
Guy Muyembe of the Digital Activism Award-winning Habari RDC at the 2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship)

Digital Activism fellow Habari RDC, a collective of more than 100 young Congolese bloggers and web activists, have been busily covering December’s tense election in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its fallout. Guy Muyembe, president of Habari RDC, said before the elections: “The only thing that is certain about the election is the uncertainty that comes with it.” The continuing tensions threaten to destabilise the country, insecurity and violence. Index has arranged training for Habari RDC with Protection International which will take place early this year.

2018 Freedom of Expression Journalism Award-winner and 2018 Journalism Fellow Honduran investigative journalist Wendy Funes at the 2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship)
2018 Freedom of Expression Journalism Award-winner and 2018 Journalism Fellow Honduran investigative journalist Wendy Funes at the 2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship)

Journalism fellow Wendy Funes continues to cover corruption and human rights violations in Honduras, a country where violence has become “normalised”. With the help of  Index, Wendy is in the process of securing an office for her newspaper which will create a safe space for her team to do their work. She also plans to open the space to other journalists and offer training to students. Wendy has been selected as a judge for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and has been able to attain funding which will cover some of her investigations for 2019.

2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas)
2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards (Photo: Elina Kansikas)

Zimbabwe: President Mnangagwa doesn’t have the right to shut down the internet

With the ongoing violence, questions are now being asked as to whether Mnangagwa has control over the country, with many believing that Zimbabwe is effectively a military state

Zimbabwe must release Evan Mawarire and drop all charges

Index on Censorship calls for the immediate release of activist Evan Mawarire, who was arrested in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

Global champions of free expression: 2019 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards shortlist announced

A self-exiled Saudi street artist who uses murals to challenge her homeland’s repression of women, a Nigerian organisation that fosters community radio, a group of digital activists tackling online trolls in Colombia, and a Serbian collective of investigative journalists exposing government corruption are among the individuals and organisations shortlisted for the 2019 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowships.

Awards 2019

Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards exist to celebrate individuals or groups who have had a significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world.

Perla Hinojosa

Perla Hinojosa is Index’s Fellowships and Advocacy Officer. Originally from Belize, Central America, she received her bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of South Florida and recently completed her master’s degree from Swansea University in development and human rights. She has experience in advocacy, grassroots organising and campaigns in the United States. Her work has covered civic engagement, elections and Latino immigrants’ rights issues. She has also worked on LGBTQI+ issues and HIV prevention and care.

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