[archives] The “Kalima” project: Promoting and protecting freedom of the press and freedom of expression (2013-2016)

  • Location: The project is coordinated from Morocco. It covers Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
  • Team: 1 expatriate and 1 local colleague
  • Partners: ADALA (Morocco), Centre de Tunis pour la Liberté de la Presse en Tunisie, Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
  • Duration: October 2013 > June 2016

Context and objectives

Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are undergoing significant political transitions. Free access to information and freedom of expression are of key importance to ensure that the population can fully participate in the process underway. Whilst government authorities in Tunisia and Morocco respect the right of freedom of expression more than in the past, the protection of those directly involved in exercising this freedom is not always guaranteed. In Egypt, the situation is more dramatic, in particular for journalists who are subjected to pressures and threats, most notably in the name of fighting terrorism.

ASF’s Kalima project was born in this context. This Arabic word means both “speech” and “word”. It plays on the two freedoms that are this project’s subject: the freedom of speech or expression, and the freedom of the press. Whether they are professional or citizen journalists, bloggers, lawyers or human rights defenders, the aim is to support these parties in their commitment in defending and promoting freedom of expression, and to protect them when doing so. The aim is also to support collective advocacy efforts to apply the relevant international standards.

Activities included in this project

The Kalima project is being implemented with our partners from Moroccan, Tunisian and Egyptian civil society. It will also involve lawyers and jurists, as well as institutional and political stakeholders involved in freedom of expression.

Several activities are being launched:

  • Baseline studies in the three countries;
  • Training sessions for journalists, bloggers and lawyers (for example, to help them better understand the accusations of defamation which may be used in order to restrict freedom of expression, or to make better use of the available legal framework);
  • Creation of a regional forum for exchange and advocacy;
  • Legal assistance for victims of actions intended to impede their freedom to express themselves;
  • Workshops;
  • Publications.

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