Defending expression since 1987

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

1980s

People help each other climb the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg gate after the opening of East German borders, 10 November, 1989 (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

People help each other climb the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg gate after the opening of East German borders, 10 November, 1989 (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

1987 | ARTICLE 19 is founded

Born from the collective vision of J Roderick MacArthur, Aryeh Neier, and Martin Ennals, ARTICLE 19 was created:

to document censorship, to defeat the censors, and to help the censored.

The organisation, named after Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was registered in London in February 1987.

Its first Executive Director was Kevin Boyle: an internationally renowned human rights activist, barrister, and academic from Northern Ireland.

Black logo against a white background. The text reads: XIX ARTICLE 19 Global Campaign for Free Expression. One of the X's is illustrated in grey, making it look like a cross in a ballot box.
The same ARTICLE 19 logo, but it has slowly transformed, so that the illustrated X is now blue rather than black.
ARTICLE 19’s Founding Director, Kevin Boyle, with Kazuo  Ishiguro, Harold Pinter, Frances D’Souza, and Arnold Wesker, sat behind a table at a news  conference to support Salman Rushdie in 1989.

ARTICLE 19’s Founding Director, Kevin Boyle (centre), with (L–R) Kazuo Ishiguro, Harold Pinter, Frances D’Souza, and Arnold Wesker at a news conference to support Salman Rushdie in 1989. (Photo: The Telegraph)

A paper copy of the statement published by the International Committee for the Defence of Salman Rushdie in 1989
Salman Rushdie and ARTICLE 19's Carmel Bedford smiling in front of an ARTICLE 19 banner

Salman Rushdie with ARTICLE 19's Carmel Bedford at a news conference organised by ARTICLE 19 when Rushdie came out of hiding, London, 25 September 1998 (Photo: Paul Hackett/Reuters/Alamy)

A group of people at a protest march holding banners calling for press freedom in South Africa

Protest against restrictions South Africa's apartheid government imposed on New Nation (edited by ARTICLE 19 Board Member Zwelakhe Sisulu) and other newspapers, Johannesburg. (Photo: Graeme Williams/Panos)

ARTICLE 19’s Founding Director, Kevin Boyle, with Kazuo  Ishiguro, Harold Pinter, Frances D’Souza, and Arnold Wesker, sat behind a table at a news  conference to support Salman Rushdie in 1989.

ARTICLE 19’s Founding Director, Kevin Boyle (centre), with (L–R) Kazuo Ishiguro, Harold Pinter, Frances D’Souza, and Arnold Wesker at a news conference to support Salman Rushdie in 1989. (Photo: The Telegraph)

A paper copy of the statement published by the International Committee for the Defence of Salman Rushdie in 1989
Salman Rushdie and ARTICLE 19's Carmel Bedford smiling in front of an ARTICLE 19 banner

Salman Rushdie with ARTICLE 19's Carmel Bedford at a news conference organised by ARTICLE 19 when Rushdie came out of hiding, London, 25 September 1998 (Photo: Paul Hackett/Reuters/Alamy)

A group of people at a protest march holding banners calling for press freedom in South Africa

Protest against restrictions South Africa's apartheid government imposed on New Nation (edited by ARTICLE 19 Board Member Zwelakhe Sisulu) and other newspapers, Johannesburg. (Photo: Graeme Williams/Panos)

1989 | Our first campaigns

February 1989 | Defending Salman Rushdie

On 14 February, Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa condemning Rushdie to death for alleged blasphemy in his novel The Satanic Verses.

ARTICLE 19 formed the International Committee for the Defence of Salman Rushdie to campaign for the author’s protection.

One of our first campaign actions was to coordinate a World Statement supporting Rushdie's right to publish ‘free from censorship, intimidation and violence’. 

The statement appeared in publications across the world, and was signed by more than 12,000 people, including Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Samuel Beckett, Noam Chomsky, J.M. Coetzee, Joan Didion, Carlos Fuentes, Seamus Heaney, Nawal El Saadawi, Shūsaku Endō, Fadia Faqir, Milan Kundera, Harold Pinter, Ernesto Sabato, and Kurt Vonnegut.

And when Rushdie officially came out of hiding nearly a decade later (25 September 1998), it was at an ARTICLE 19 press conference.

‘A book can irritate, bother, cause pain ... but it cannot incite a person to commit murder, to condemn the writer to death. This is intolerable’ 
 Tahar Ben Jalloun

October 1989 | Zwelakhe Sisulu released after ARTICLE 19 campaign

Zwelakhe Sisulu was a South African anti-apartheid journalist, editor of the black-run newspaper New Nation, and member of ARTICLE 19’s Board.

A month after his election to our Board, the South African apartheid government detained him without trial.

Following ARTICLE 19’s first campaign, Sisulu was finally released in October 1989.

Zwelakhe Sisulu making a speech at a celebration of a previous prison release, Durban, South Africa, 1986. (Video: ITN/Getty)

Zwelakhe Sisulu making a speech at a celebration of a previous prison release, Durban, South Africa, 1986. (Video: ITN/Getty)

ARTICLE 19 is an organisation that for many has made the difference between life and death … Thank you for what you did for me and hundreds of my countrymen. Without your help I would probably not be standing here in front of you today.
Zwelakhe Sisulu

1990s

Thousands gather in a joyous march to celebrate Nelson Mandela's release, 12 February 1990, Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Philip Littleton/AFP)

Thousands gather in a joyous march to celebrate Nelson Mandela's release, 12 February 1990, Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Philip Littleton/AFP)


1990–95 |
The profound challenges of censorship
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Photo of the ARTICLE 19 book 'Starving in Silence'

1990 | Famine

Starving in Silence: A Report on Famine and Censorship is one of the first ever reports to show that famine can be a direct consequence of censorship. 

Based on two case studies – China's famine of 1959–61 and the famines in the Horn of Africa in the 1980s – the report addressed censorship’s role in both causing famine and delaying relief from hunger.


Photo of the ARTICLE 19 publication 'Striking a Balance'

1992 | Hate speech

Striking a Balance: Hate Speech, Freedom of Expression, and Non-Discrimination was the result of consultation with more than 30 international experts.

It delved into the complex balance between the right to freedom of expression and the right to equality, and analysed the use and misuse of hate speech legislation around the world.

The cover of the ARTICLE 19 report 'Broadcasting Genocide'

1994 | Genocide

Following the Hutu-sponsored ethnic genocide of over 800,000 Tutsi people, ARTICLE 19 published Broadcasting Genocide: Censorship, Propaganda and State-Sponsored Violence in Rwanda, 1990–1994.

The report explored the role of censorship and propaganda in the genocide.

Cover of the ARTICLE 19 publication 'The Right to Know'

1995 | Sexual health

The Right to Know: Human Rights and Access to Reproductive Health Information showed how governments censored and withheld lifesaving information on abortion, contraception, and AIDS. 

This groundbreaking book has been widely referenced and illustrates how access to information is at the heart of improving public health.


Photo of the UN building with flags in the foreground
Photo of the UN building with flags in the foreground

1993–89 | Progress at intergovernmental bodies

1993 | New Special Rapporteur mandate

The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression mandate was created at the UN, which ARTICLE 19 was instrumental in establishing. 

1999 | First joint declaration

As the 20th century drew to a close, the four Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression adopted their first annual joint declaration – assisted then, and every year since, by ARTICLE 19.

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1996–99
Setting the standards for freedom of expression worldwide
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1996 | The Johannesburg Principles

With the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, ARTICLE 19 convened a group of experts to establish clear rules for getting the balance right between freedom of expression and national security. The Johannesburg Principles were the outcome of these discussions. 

Endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, recognised by the UN Commission on Human Rights, and widely cited in court cases, the principles are internationally regarded as the standard for protecting expression in the context of national security laws.

1999 | The Public’s Right to Know

ARTICLE 19 published The Public’s Right to Know: Principles on Freedom of Information Legislation, which set out best-practice standards for freedom of information laws.

The principles were endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and referred to in a UN Human Rights Commission resolution in 2000.

Updated in 2016, they are now available in 10 languages.

2000s

red and white love wall decor

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube - as well as the first iPhone - were all launched in the 2000s.

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube - as well as the first iPhone - were all launched in the 2000s.

2000–10 | ARTICLE 19’s recommendations adopted in laws worldwide

Throughout the 2000s, our recommendations on media bills and defamation practices were variously debated and adopted in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Fiji, Kenya, Moldova, Nepal, and South Sudan.

In Mexico, we successfully advocated for the federalisation of ‘crimes against freedom of expression’.

And our recommendations on access to information were adopted in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Kelantan, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nagorny-Karabakh, and Nepal.

In fact, between 2000 and 2010, the number of countries with access to information laws increased by a whopping 218% more than ever before (or since).

Graph showing the rise in the number of countries with access to information laws between 1950 and 2021
World map in white and grey
World map in white and grey with three Middle Eastern countries highlighted in red
World map in white and grey with three Middle Eastern countries and Ukraine highlighted in red
The same world map with countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa highlighted in red
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of New York City
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of Mexico and Brazil
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of Nepal and Bangladesh
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of China, which is highlighted yellow
The same world map with the same countries highlighted, with the addition of the UK
The same world map with many more countries around the world highlighted
World map in white and grey
World map in white and grey with three Middle Eastern countries highlighted in red
World map in white and grey with three Middle Eastern countries and Ukraine highlighted in red
The same world map with countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa highlighted in red
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of New York City
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of Mexico and Brazil
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of Nepal and Bangladesh
The same world map with the same countries highlighted in red, with the addition of China, which is highlighted yellow
The same world map with the same countries highlighted, with the addition of the UK
The same world map with many more countries around the world highlighted

2000–10 | From global to local

In the 2000s, ARTICLE 19 undertook an extensive programme of regionalisation to better understand local realities and needs.

We opened offices in the Middle East...

Ukraine...

North, West, and East Africa...

New York City...

Latin America...

...and South Asia.

We also undertook our first programme work in China.

Our international office in London supported all our regional offices.

As a result of our expansion, between 2005 and 2008 our staff numbers more than doubled to 30. 

But we've grown much bigger since...

2015–21

Our staff numbers grew from 85 to 176 (mostly in our regional offices), and the money we awarded to partners grew from £217,000 to £2.2 million.

2002–09
Raising the bar on broadcasting, equality, and the climate
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A retro radio microphone bearing the red neon words 'ON THE AIR' in front of a laptop screen

2002 | Access to the Airwaves

Access to the Airwaves: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Broadcast Regulation established how to promote and protect independent broadcasting that served the public interest. 


Young woman in a hijab with headphones on speaking into a microphone

2005 | Model Broadcasting Law

Our Model Public Service Broadcasting Law translated Access to the Airwaves into legal form, and Ukraine’s parliament included many of our recommendations in its broadcasting bill. 


Blue and white cover of ARTICLE 19's 'Camden Principles'

2009 | The Camden Principles

The Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equality tackled issues like incitement to hatred, the right of response, and media responsibilities, respecting free expression and equality.

Three women wearing saris and a man waist-deep in flood water in Bangladesh. One of the women is holding a child.

2009 | Changing the Climate

Changing the Climate for Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Information was published at COP15 in Copenhagen and showed how access to information is vital to tackling climate change. 

2010s

An indigenous Brazilian woman wearing red, with a red mask painted across her eyes, looks back over her shoulder at the camera. She is surrounded by other Indigenous Brazilians.

Indigenous women protest against right-wing President Bolsonaro's environmental policies and the loss of their traditional settlements, 13 August 2019, Brazil. (Photo: Tuane Fernandes/dpa)

Indigenous women protest against right-wing President Bolsonaro's environmental policies and the loss of their traditional settlements, 13 August 2019, Brazil. (Photo: Tuane Fernandes/dpa)

Front cover of ARTICLE 19's publication 'Defining Defamation'. It shows the report title and someone holding a newspaper. The newspaper features a photo of a woman in a black headscarf.
Front cover of ARTICLE 19's publication 'Defining Defamation'. It shows the report title and someone holding a newspaper. The newspaper features a photo of a woman in a black headscarf.

2010–17 | Defining defamation

2010 | Successful Guardian appeal

We contributed to The Guardian’s successful appeal against an Iraq court’s ruling that the paper had defamed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by describing him as increasingly autocratic.

2017 | Revised defamation principles

We published our revised Defining Defamation: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation. Originally published in 2010, the revisions reflected new digital challenges.

2017 | Successful petition in Kenya

Following an ARTICLE 19 petition, Kenya's High Court declared the offence of criminal defamation unconstitutional. 

A crowd of people at a street protest. Some are holding signs. One has the Tunisian flag around his shoulders.

Protest during the Tunisian Revolution, which led to the ousting of President Ben Ali, free elections, and democratisation – and catalysed the Arab Spring. Tunis, 11 January 2011. (Photo: Nasser Nouri, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A young Egyptian girl wearing a head scarf, with the colours of the Egyptian flag painted on her cheek, shouting in front of the Egyptian flag.

Anti-government protest in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, 22 July 2011. (Photo: John Wreford/Shutterstock)

Young woman holds a red banner featuring black-and-white posters of men's faces, each featuring Spanish text.

A student holds a banner featuring the faces of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who were forcibly abducted in September 2014. The team tasked with investigating their disappearance was obstructed by the Mexican government and targeted with Pegasus spyware. (Photo: Montecruz Foto)

Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia, pictured wearing white and standing in front of a banner depicting a map of the world and the Chatham House logo.

Adama Barrow, who was elected President of the Gambia on 1 December 2016, ending over two decades of autocratic rule under former military leader Yahya Jammeh. (Photo: Chatham House, CC BY 2.0)

A crowd of people at a street protest. Some are holding signs. One has the Tunisian flag around his shoulders.

Protest during the Tunisian Revolution, which led to the ousting of President Ben Ali, free elections, and democratisation – and catalysed the Arab Spring. Tunis, 11 January 2011. (Photo: Nasser Nouri, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A young Egyptian girl wearing a head scarf, with the colours of the Egyptian flag painted on her cheek, shouting in front of the Egyptian flag.

Anti-government protest in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, 22 July 2011. (Photo: John Wreford/Shutterstock)

Young woman holds a red banner featuring black-and-white posters of men's faces, each featuring Spanish text.

A student holds a banner featuring the faces of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who were forcibly abducted in September 2014. The team tasked with investigating their disappearance was obstructed by the Mexican government and targeted with Pegasus spyware. (Photo: Montecruz Foto)

Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia, pictured wearing white and standing in front of a banner depicting a map of the world and the Chatham House logo.

Adama Barrow, who was elected President of the Gambia on 1 December 2016, ending over two decades of autocratic rule under former military leader Yahya Jammeh. (Photo: Chatham House, CC BY 2.0)

2011–17 | Supporting new futures – and learning from the past

2011 | Tunisia

After the Tunisian Revolution, ARTICLE 19 was the first organisation to collaborate with the country’s new regime.

We contributed to 3 new laws, including the Press Code and a broadcasting law, and established an independent media regulatory body.

2011 | Egypt

After the Arab Spring, we also worked to strengthen Egypt's nascent democracy, training journalists and supporting the development of free media.

2016 | Mexico

In Mexico we launched Memoria y Verdadrm (Memory and Truth), an online platform compiling information on past cases of grave human rights violations, with the aim of supporting the right to truth and a long-term transitional justice agenda in the country.

2017 | The Gambia

The Gambia ushered in a new democratic era after two decades of repressive rule.

ARTICLE 19 worked closely with the new government to ensure freedom of expression formed the keystone of the new democracy, and was involved in drafting the country's new constitution.

And we pressed for the investigation of human rghts abuses in the previous era.

2012–19 | Protecting expression to challenge hate

2012 | Prohibiting incitement

Two decades after our first publication on the subject, ARTICLE 19 published Prohibiting Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility or Violence, which showed how states could prohibit incitement to hatred while also protecting freedom of expression.

The policy proposed a 6-part test for determining whether speech constitutes incitement, which was included in the UN Rabat Plan of Action and endorsed by 87 UN member states.

2015 | Hate speech toolkit

In response to growing demands for guidance, we published Hate Speech Explained: A Toolkit, a guide to identifying and countering hate speech while protecting the rights to both freedom of expression and equality. 

2016 | Education in Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt

We worked with young people and teachers in Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt to improve understandings of hate speech.

2019 | Youth projects in Asia Pacific

We launched youth projects in Malaysia and Myanmar on religious hate speech.

2019 | Challenging hate in Kyrgyzstan

Our #ChallengeHate campaign challenged criminal sanctions and incitement to hatred during the Kyrgyzstan elections.

Black and white cartoon panel featuring three panels. Each panel features two distinct groups of penguins arguing with each other about their tribes, religions, and political beliefs.

2015–16
Progress at the UN

An illustration of two Mexican women in a kitchen, with the words 'Nosotras con la Informacion' in the foreground in blue.

2015 | Sustainable Development Goals

ARTICLE 19 played a crucial role in getting the right to information included in the new Sustainable Development Goals, which included a specific target on ‘access to information’ and protecting ‘fundamental freedoms’ (including freedom of expression) under the goal relating to good governance.

This had been a major advocacy focus for ARTICLE 19 and our partners since 2012.

A crowd of reporters with cameras and recording equipment in what looks like a hallway at an event.

2016 | The safety of journalists

ARTICLE 19’s recommendations and advocacy contributed to all 47 members of the Human Rights Council adopting UN Resolution 33/2 on the Safety of Journalists – one of the Council’s strongest resolutions on freedom of expression.

This landmark resolution required states to release arbitrarily detained journalists, reform repressive laws, and protect digital security.

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2015–17
Measuring expression worldwide
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Two women and two men smiling and sitting down at an ARTICLE 19 event.

2015 | The Expression Agenda

ARTICLE 19 launched a new 6-year strategy, The Expression Agenda, which set out a vision of a world in which all people can freely express themselves and engage in public life without fear or discrimination.

Guided by 2 basic freedoms – the freedom to speak and the freedom to know – The Expression Agenda measured free expression across 5 core areas: Civic Space, Digital, Media, Protection, and Transparency.  

And it incorporated ARTICLE 19’s new Mx Method, a cross-cutting approach to sex, gender, and sexuality that went on to inform every element of our work.

World map with different countries variously coloured dark red, light red, orange, yellow, and green.

2017 | The Global Expression Report

We partnered with the V-Dem Institute to publish the first Global Expression Report, a comprehensive, data-driven look at the state of freedom of expression worldwide that scores countries from 1 to 100.

The Global Expression Report continues to be a vital tool to measure how much space there is for all of us to express and communicate, access the information we need, and hold the powerful to account. 

Front cover of The Global Expression Report 2022. The cover bears the report's name and a black-and-white photograph of some people marching. One of their signs says 'We Want Democracy'.

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2013–19
Freedom of expression in the digital age
invisible line?!

Front cover of ARTICLE 19's publication 'The Right to Blog'. The cover is purple and features an abstract illustration.

2013 | Freedom of expression online

ARTICLE 19 published policies on The Right to Blog, The Right to Share, and Internet Intermediaries, expanding civil society's understanding of freedom of expression online.

ICANN's logo next to a blue illustration of the world.

2014 | Human rights in internet infrastructure

Our pioneering work led to the establishment of human rights advisory groups in technical and standards-setting bodies like ICANN and the IETF.

Two black stick figures against an orange background. One of the stick folders is holding up a megaphone for the other stick figure, who is standing on a chair, to speak through.

2015 | Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability

We were instrumental in developing The Manila Principles, which outlined clear requirements for content-removal requests and how to minimise the damage of content takedowns.

Composite illustration of three people against a purple background. One is looking at their mobile phone, one is smiling and speaking through a loudspeaker, and one is filming with a video camera.

2017 | Freedom of expression and privacy

Our Global Principles on Protection of Freedom of Expression and Privacy provided a framework for respecting, protecting, and resolving tensions between the right to free expression and the right to privacy in the digital age.

Illustration of an eye against a yellow and green background, with the words 'Gobierno Espia' in grey.

2017 | Pegasus spyware in Mexico

ARTICLE 19 and Citizen Lab revealed that at least 3 institutions in the Mexican federal government had bought and deployed Pegasus spyware to illegally surveil journalists, activists, and political opponents.

A group of people standing in front of a screen projecting the Google logo in an office setting.

2019 | The right to be forgotten

The European Court of Justice followed our recommendation on the ‘right to be forgotten’ across the globe, preventing courts or regulators from one country from imposing their interpretations on internet users around the world.

2019 | Missing Voices

We closed the decade by launching #MissingVoices, a global campaign calling on social media platforms to be more transparent in their content-moderation decisions and allow users whose content had been removed to appeal decisions.

A woman in hijab shouting and raising her hand at a street protest. She is facing two police officers in riot gear.

An anti-government protester at clashes with police in Cairo, Egypt, as part of the Arab Spring, 26 January 2011. (Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

A crowd of South Korean women holding protest signs. The signs say 'Me Too' and 'With You'.

#MeToo protest on International Women’s Day in Seoul, South Korea, 8 March 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

A group of people wearing rainbow-coloured skirts and flying the LGBT pride flag against a bright blue sky.

Protest against Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Front cover of ARTICLE 19's publication 'The Right to Protest'. It depicts a crowd of people at a street protest. The man in the foreground is shouting through a loudspeaer.
Group of mostly women wearing T-shirts that read 'Ni Una Mas'. One is holding a yellow sign with the female empowerment image on it. They are raising their fists.

Women in El Paso chant 'Ni una más' ('Not one more') as they march in solidarity with women across Mexico against femicide and gender-based violence. (Photo: Mark Lambie/ElPaso Times/Imagn/USA TodayNetwork/Sipa USA)

Group of people at a street protest holding signs that say 'Stop Killer Cops'.

Demonstration in Kenya against police brutality, August 2020. (Photo: MUHURI)

A woman in hijab shouting and raising her hand at a street protest. She is facing two police officers in riot gear.

An anti-government protester at clashes with police in Cairo, Egypt, as part of the Arab Spring, 26 January 2011. (Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

A crowd of South Korean women holding protest signs. The signs say 'Me Too' and 'With You'.

#MeToo protest on International Women’s Day in Seoul, South Korea, 8 March 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

A group of people wearing rainbow-coloured skirts and flying the LGBT pride flag against a bright blue sky.

Protest against Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Front cover of ARTICLE 19's publication 'The Right to Protest'. It depicts a crowd of people at a street protest. The man in the foreground is shouting through a loudspeaer.
Group of mostly women wearing T-shirts that read 'Ni Una Mas'. One is holding a yellow sign with the female empowerment image on it. They are raising their fists.

Women in El Paso chant 'Ni una más' ('Not one more') as they march in solidarity with women across Mexico against femicide and gender-based violence. (Photo: Mark Lambie/ElPaso Times/Imagn/USA TodayNetwork/Sipa USA)

Group of people at a street protest holding signs that say 'Stop Killer Cops'.

Demonstration in Kenya against police brutality, August 2020. (Photo: MUHURI)

2016–19 | Defending the right to protest

The 2010s were a decade of protest: from the Arab Spring to #MeToo, Black Lives Matter to anti-austerity in Greece, Occupy Wall Street to protests in Mexico against journalists’ murders. 

Social media became both a method of and a platform for protest – as well as a means for governments to restrict them.

And new opportunities to protect protesters’ rights emerged at the UN, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Council of Europe.

2016 | The Right to Protest Principles

Against this backdrop, and following broad consultation with civil society and international experts, ARTICLE 19 launched The Right to Protest Principles for use in national, regional, and international advocacy to improve protesters’ rights worldwide.

2016 | Protocol on police force in Mexico

That same year, ARTICLE 19’s advocacy resulted in the adoption of a landmark protocol on the police’s use of force during protests in Mexico City.

2019 | #FreeToProtest campaign

We launched our #FreeToProtest / #LivreParaProtestar campaign in Kenya and Brazil.

The campaign raised awareness of the right to protest, warned of restrictions that threatened that right, worked to destigmatise protest and protesters, and emphasised the positive social impacts of protest. 

2020s

Farmers in India celebrate long-running protests being called off after the government agreed to their demands near the Delhi-Haryana border, India, 9 December 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/ Anushree Fadnavis)

Farmers in India celebrate long-running protests being called off after the government agreed to their demands near the Delhi-Haryana border, India, 9 December 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/ Anushree Fadnavis)

invisible line?!
202022
Onwards, upwards – and outwards
invisible line?!,

Woman wearing cornrows and a blue medical mask looking directly into the camera. She is standing in the street. The background is blurry.

2020–21 | Combating Covid-19 through transparency

Many governments used the pandemic to suppress information, increase surveillance, implement unlimited states of emergency, and restrict the media. 

ARTICLE 19 challenged these threats to freedom of expression around the world.

In May 2020, we issued a briefing on how transparency was fundamental to tackling Covid-19. As the pandemic rolled on and misinformation spread, we reported on government overreach and urged states to protect expression as part of their efforts to control the virus.

2020–22 | New digital frontiers

A man and woman conducting an interview. The man is wearing headphones and a camera is set up to film the woman. It is night time in a city.

2020 | Online abuse of women journalists 

ARTICLE 19 launched 3 briefings on how to tackle the growing problem of online harassment and abuse against women journalists.

We also contributed to a new OSCE guide setting out concrete actions that state and non-state actors could take to improve their safety.

Two women in colourful saris, one wearing headphones, holding a laptop and smiling.

2021 | Connecting remote and rural communities

ARTICLE 19’s advocacy contributed to the ITU formally recognising the importance of community networks in providing last-mile infrastructure to rural and remote communities.

This was a significant win for digital inclusion.

A triptych of headshots in which each person is pulling a face and is framed in white, to depict emotional recognition technology.

2021 | The dangers of biometrics

When Bodies Become Data and Emotional Enlargement, shed light on the dangers of biometric surveillance in India, China, and beyond. 

We also called for a ban on facial-recognition technology through the Ban The Scan campaign. 

An illustration of a floating 3D face made up of blue neon connections

2022 | Taming Big Tech to protect expression

Our new policies, Watching The Watchmen and Taming Big Tech, set out a unique solution to tame the excessive power of the biggest social media platforms.

And we piloted a Social Media Council to oversee content moderation and improve platforms’ accountability.

2020–22 Are we #FreeToProtest?

A group of people marching down a city street at a protest with their fists raised, some carrying signs

2020 | New UN guidance on the right to protest

After years of lobbying, ARTICLE 19’s recommendations on the right to peaceful protest were included in new guidance by the UN Human Rights Committee.

This guidance is a powerful tool that activists can use to understand their rights – essential as pushbacks against protest sweep the globe.

A group of Indigenous men wearing masks and headdresses, with their fists raised and musical instruments.

2021 | Escazu Agreement comes into force

The Escazu Agreement came into force in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is binding and includes an enforcement mechanism, making it a strong tool to protect environmental human rights defenders.

ARTICLE 19’s regional offices in Mexico and Brazil worked closely on its creation, development, and now enforcement.

A campaign logo that depicts the hashtag Free To Protest in black, with an absract green-and-black illustration.

2022 | Phase 2 of #FreeToProtest

We are campaigning to ensure that all people, especially those who face discrimination, feel empowered to use their right to protest. 

Over the next 4 years, we will call on police, media, and policy makers to end police brutality at protests, humanise protesters, and reform laws to make protest safer for everyone.

2021–22 | Podcasts on the most divisive debates of our time

ARTICLE 19 has launched two podcasts that delve into the most hotly debates aspects of freedom of expression: from the right to protest to fighting for basic freedoms under repressive regimes.

Rectangular tile advertising the Boundaries of Expression podcast, specifically an episode of the Free To Protest series featuring Raya Famau Ahmed, who is pictured wearing a purple headscarf.

2021 | Boundaries of Expression

‘Boundaries of Expression’ delves deeply into freedom of expression issues with a panel of 3 expert guests.

The series explores the central debates surrounding topics like the right to truth, protest, privacy and surveillance.

Produced and presented by journalist and editor Jo Glanville, each episode is accompanied by a longform essay, released every 6 weeks.

Logo of the Silenced podcast, featuring the word SILENCED in white and an illustration of redacted text against a red and orange background

2022 | Silenced

Presented by Nicola Kelly and produced by Chris Hooton, ‘Silenced’ explores extraordinary real-life stories from journalists and activists around the world who have been arrested, detained, and murdered in their pursuit of truth.

‘a must listen ... giving voice to journalists and activists around the world who have been silenced by their governments.’
Judges at Society of Editors Media Freedom Awards 2022, where 'Silenced' was highly commended in the 'Podcast of the Year' category.


We have achieved so much but there is so much left to do.

Around the world, democracies are failing, human rights are being eroded, and only 1 in 7 people live in countries where they can seek, receive, or share information freely and safely.  

Here's how we will rise to this challenge.

2022–26

The Power of Our Voices

Our new strategy, The Power of Our Voices, sets out how ARTICLE 19 will harness the experience, knowledge, passion, and tenacity of the free expression movement to build a world where everyone – everywhere – can realise the power of their voices.

And we will amplify those voices until they are too loud to be ignored.

Over the next 4 years, we will:

  • Define a new digital era for freedom of expression
  • Protect, empower, and connect silenced voices and dissent
  • Advance law and policy to strengthen and protect expression

Now is the time to raise your voice.

Join us.

Protest in Bangkok at night time with the Democracy Monument in the background. The main focus of the photo is a woman holding a sign above her head that reads: LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE.


Defend expression with us.

Explore our impact

From freeing journalists to shaping country constitutions and monitoring free expression across 162 countries.

Support our work

Strengthen global systems to allow open, respectful, informed debate to flourish. Invest in expression today.

Join us

Amplify the voices of the silenced and learn more about our research, campaigns, and advocacy worldwide.

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