As part of Media Defence’s project Empowering Women in Digital Rights Advocacy, we are building a strong legal defence network in sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this goal, we are providing financial assistance to organisations to establish legal aid units or media defence centres. We are excited to announce that, as part of this project, we are extending our partnership with three of these organisations.
In this article, we want to highlight these organisations and the impactful work they are doing.
Campaign for Free Expression (CFE)
CFE is a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and expanding the right to free expression. According to CFE, protecting this right means exercising it “to the full, whether it is by speaking out, by protesting, by revealing information, by blowing the whistle on wrong-doing, by arguing, debating, writing, painting, composing or just by shouting out an opinion”.  Therefore, CFE aims to mobilise awareness and support for those whose freedom of expression is threatened. However, the challenges to freedom of expression become increasingly complex. By extending our partnership, CFE can continue combatting these challenges by offering emergency legal support to journalists in member states of the Southern African Development Community. Outside of our partner project, CFE also undertakes strategic and precedent-setting legal action to promote and defend free expression.
Collectif des Associations Contre l’Impunité au Togo (CACIT)
This network of fourteen associations and non-profit organisations in Togo has had a clear mission since 2006: to contribute to improving the human rights situation in the country in a holistic way. The end goal is “a Togo, without human rights violations where the victims restored in their rights and dignity contribute effectively to the development to their community” . Therefore, the organisation’s goals include creating and maintaining networks of human rights professionals. This network, in turn, offers legal, judicial and social support to victims of human rights violations. Testament to the strength of this network, CACIT has engaged in several online freedom cases in Togo. Additionally, CACIT’s objective is to build capacity of civil society actors and journalists on professionalism and their safety. In this context, CACIT has taken an initiative. With our support, they have created a centre for assistance to journalists.
Volunteers for Sustainable Development in Africa (VOSIEDA)
With over 20 years’ experience, VOSIEDA is a well-established network of professionals set up in response to development challenges in West Africa. Initially, VOSIEDA was founded in 2000 by local volunteers in response to the Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars. Since then, the work of the Liberia-based organisation is driven by one vision: “Prosperous societies with empowered people and communities committed to caring for nature, where peace, justice, and respect prevail”. Within this holistic vision, VOSIEDA also works towards fostering free press and enabling environments for journalists. Therefore, the network now aims to provide free legal support and better access to legal assistance for independent media, journalists, and bloggers in Liberia. Since the outset of our partnership, the lawyers have litigated several online freedom cases in Liberia.
We are beyond excited to continue our partnerships with these three excellent media defence centres.
If you would like any further information, please contact Training Officer Hanna Uihlein at firstname.lastname@example.org
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