Remarks by IFEX Executive Director Annie Game at the launch of a collaborative project with the International Free Expression Project, marking World Press Freedom Day 2021
“Hello. I’m Annie Game, the Executive Director of IFEX, a global network of over 100 organisations in more than 70 countries who defend and promote free expression and access to information.
Our work at the IFEX Secretariat is to make meaningful connections and harness the energy and experience of the members to meet the challenges in advocating for these foundational rights.
Allies are key in supporting these efforts, and IFEX is very happy this year to be working with the International Free Expression Project, to honour some of the remarkable people in our Faces of Free Expression series. Their stories are the stories of risk-takers and change-makers – individuals who put their careers, their freedom, their safety, and sometimes even their lives on the line, in order to defend these rights. Whether working to secure our right to information, strengthen and defend civic space, make it safer for journalists to do their work, or ensure accountability when crimes are committed against freedom of expression, their tenacity and sacrifice remain an inspiration.
You will often hear, now, people refer to journalists as working on the frontlines. The term implies risk, and with reason. As seen in Myanmar, Belarus, Venezuela, and the United States, journalists are reporting on individuals who are challenging power, calling out crime and corruption, and demanding change – and they are paying a huge price. Take Daphne Caruana Galizia, a brilliant Maltese investigative journalist who unearthed such corruption and rot among those in power that threats to her life became a common occurrence. In her last blog post, she wrote : “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”’
She was right. In 2017, Daphne was murdered. A car bomb.
Her death ignited a global campaign, led by her sons. It has resulted in a public inquiry and a trail of revelations leading straight to the masterminds behind her murder. And so this work continues, until justice can finally be declared for Daphne.
In closing, I want to emphasise that the faces you will see and the people you will read about in this exhibition are just a few in a much larger community of individuals and organisations around the world – those whose stories you may never hear. They promote and defend all our rights, often below the radar, and far too often in extremely difficult circumstances. We also honour them, with this campaign.
As a network, IFEX has learned how collaboration can help to change minds, change laws, and sometimes even move mountains. The International Free Expression Project marks another important step in the right direction. We wish you good luck, in your good work.
SOURCE: IFEX & International Free Expression Project