Fundación Karisma: "At the heart of Karisma’s work has always been the promotion of access to knowledge and culture"

Winner of the 2019 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Digital Activism Award, Fundación Karisma is a civil society organisation fighting for digital rights in Colombia.

04 Apr 2019

Carolina Botero Cabrera, executive director of Fundación Karisma, accepted the award on behalf of the organisation.

Good evening. We are honored by today’s recognition, and humbled to be part of such a great group of organizations shortlisted from all over the world. Knowing that we were the Latin American candidate for this award was a great privilege and joy for us in itself. But we are especially grateful to Index on Censorship for the opportunity to speak in front of all of you.

For some years now, in Fundacion Karisma, a women-led organization, we have been reflecting on the need to analyze the experiences of women on the internet. In 2015, we worked with a group of female journalists to distinguish and understand the consequences of online harassment that this group faces, not only on account of their profession, but because they are women.

Our findings show that online harassment is often underestimated, and that its effects are often downplayed. But what worried us most was how much female journalists prefer to opt for self-censorship. And this self-censorship impacts not only the freedom of expression of women, but of society as a whole, because there is less diversity of voices in the public debate.

From this experience, we asked ourselves how to provoke a conversation about gender-based discrimination on the Internet. This is how “Alerta Machitroll” was born.

At the heart of Karisma’s work has always been the promotion of access to knowledge and culture. As you just heard, we worked on the case of Diego Gomez, a young biology student who faced between 4 and 8 years in prison for copyright infringement, for sharing an academic paper on the internet. With our support, Diego’s case ended well and two judges concluded that science is characterized by sharing practices.

Let me emphasize that the Internet is a great tool for freedom of expression. However, its growing prevalence is not always linked to greater freedom of expression for all… Karisma works to show how we can transfer and strengthen offline safeguards into the online world and to increase awareness of these issues.

Repressive and regressive regulation and practices that harm freedom of expression are often in response to fear. In Karisma, however, we aim to draw attention to problems that are important to people like you and me with solutions that strengthen rather than diminish freedom of expression. It is not an easy task, but this award tells us that we are on the right track.Thank you.

Full profile: Colombia’s Fundación Karisma works to enhance digital rights

Index kicks off US college tour

Index on Censorship will begin a set of college events across the USA on 21 October 2019 as part of its Free Speech Is For Me programme

Fundación Karisma: The tension around free speech and social media is one of the big issues of our time

We caught up with Carolina Botero Cabrera, executive director of Fundación Karisma, to find out what the organisation has been working on since winning the Index award in April

Zehra Doğan, “I’m accepting this prize in the name of the Peoples of Rojava” (Kedistan, 13 October 2019)

The award was given on October 11 2019 at the Seaside Arena in Beirut. At the opening of the ceremony, the President of the Foundation, May Chidiac, underlined the fact that human rights were regressing all over the planet and that freedom of the press was under severe attack in America, in Asia and in […]

CRNI At Second Cartooning Global Forum (CRNI, 11 October 2019)

For the second year running Cartoonists Rights Network International has assisted in the effort to bring together cartoonists, the organisations that represent them and experts from affiliated fields together for a working day where best practice can be shared and the future of our profession and art form discussed, all as we make efforts to […]

4 Controversial Artists Who Challenge Their Governments (Medium, 11 October 2019)

Art has played a major part in stirring up and supporting revolutions. As governments scramble to retract freedom of speech and suppress criticism, artists react with a fearless intensity. Read the article in full.

Robert Russell retires, award named in his honour (CRNI, 1 October 2019)

After twenty years at the helm CRNI’s founder and director Dr Robert Russell steps down from leadership of the organisation

Badiucao Wins CRNI’s Courage In Cartooning Award 2019 (2 October 2019)

In recognition of his bold defiance and courageous decision to remove the literal mask of anonymity under which he has worked for a decade, Cartoonists Rights Network International bestows its award for 2019 to the Chinese dissident, campaigner and visual artist Badiucao. Read the article in full.

Cuba’s Campaign Against Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (Hyperallergic, 19 September 2019)

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, a self-taught artist of colour from a humble background in Cuba, has been the target of an ongoing campaign of intimidation and harassment for the past two years. The independent artist, who is targeted for challenging the Cuban government, has been forcibly disappeared by Cuban police on numerous occasions, sometimes for […]

Maldives must pursue murderers of journalists

Index on Censorship calls on the Maldivian authorities to step up their investigation and pursue the individuals behind the murders of the journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla and blogger Yameen Rasheed.

The Circle x Eco-Age Difficult Conversations: Women in Conflict (Eco-Age, 29 August 2019)

In today’s focus, award winning Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim and The Circle’s Anna Renfrew shine a spotlight on the threats and challenges facing women reporting from the front line of conflict zones. Journalists in conflict zones are exposed to violence, threats and kidnapping. They are at the front line, reporting stories of global importance from […]

Comments are closed.