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)

How menstrual blood became my political paint (BBC Outlook, 13 May 2019)

After being jailed for her art, Kurdish journalist Zehra Doğan’s paint supplies were confiscated. She was charged with peddling terrorist propaganda when she drew a scene of a destroyed Kurdish-majority city in southern Turkey. In prison, she asked fellow inmates to give her their menstrual blood to use as paint. Meanwhile, she had the support […]

Museum of Dissidence: Cuba’s new constitution does not represent us as Cubans, intellectuals or humans

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, members of the Index Award-winning Museum of Dissidence, have been putting themselves on the line in the fight for free expression in Cuba

From A Turkish Prison To Tate Modern: The Story Of Zehra Doğan, The Kurdish Artist And Journalist Endorsed By Banksy And Ai Wei Wei (Run Riot, 7 May 2019)

Zehra Doğan was released from prison on 24 February 2019. She was jailed over a painting she adapted from a Turkish army photograph where she depicted armored vehicles devouring civilians in her hometown, Nusaybin. She was denied access to painting materials while imprisoned and began making paint from fruit, spices, and blood, and used newspapers, letters […]

World Press Freedom Day: Jailed for a painting (BBC World, 3 May 2019)

Today marks World Press Freedom Day. Around the world, hundreds of journalists are imprisoned for doing their jobs, and the highest number is in Turkey – according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish journalist and artist, was sentenced to nearly three years in a Turkish jail for painting a picture. Her […]

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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