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MADA helps to establish Arab Network for Freedom of Expression

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 6 December 2011 - Based on its belief in the need for unified action to promote freedom of expression in the Arab world, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), in cooperation with the Tunisian Center for Freedom of Expression and Media expert Yousef Ahmed, have initiated the establishment of the Arab Network for Freedom of Expression (ANFEX).

The announcement of the network's establishment comes after a series of consultations and meetings were held in Tunisia last week, which included the participation of the Libyan Observatory for Freedom of Expression and Yemenite journalist and human rights activist Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani. In preparation for the network's establishment, prior consultations were held with a number of Arab media institutions and journalists, and plans were made to recruit a number of organizations into the network to ensure its efficacy in achieving its mission objectives.

General Director Mousa Rimawi represented MADA at the Tunisia meetings, and stated that the network would focus on media freedoms in the Arab world, which are subject to wide spread violations, and will work towards compiling clearly defined legislation protecting freedom of opinion and expression to be applied in new laws and constitutions. A number of Arab civil society and human rights institutions have suffered under the yoke of repressive regimes and struggled to grow over the years, and it is in this context that Rimawi additionally pledged to share MADA's experience and resources to assist in the capacity building of member institutions.

Rimawi expressed his hope that media freedoms will see a significant improvement in the next few years after the catalytic events of the Arab Spring, and although the rising regimes in the region may again try to control or supress the media, with their combined efforts with other civil society institutions, the network could preserve the Arab revolutions' gains and protect citizens' rights to freedom of expression.

ANFEX Founders:
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)
Tunisian Center for Freedom of Expression
Libyan Observatory for Freedom of Expression
Media expert Yousef Ahmed
Journalist Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani

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