Are you a writer, filmmaker, artist, academic, podcaster and/or free expression/human rights activist? Are you interested in contributing content to this platform or just sharing an idea for development? Please contact us!
Admire Mare is an Associate Professor and Deputy Head in the Department of Communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities. His research interests include analyzing the complex intersection between technology and society, digital journalism, social media and politics, media and democracy, media and conflict and the role of artificial intelligence in newsrooms. He currently leads the international research project ‘Social Media, Misinformation and Elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe’ (SoMeKeZi) funded by the Social Science Research Council (2019-2021). He is also the co-author of ‘Participatory Journalism in Africa Digital News Engagement and User Agency in the South’ (New York: Routledge, 2021 with Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara). He is also the co-editor of ‘Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding in Africa: Empirical and Conceptual Considerations’ (London: Routledge, 2021 with Jacinta Maweu).
Bertha Tobias is a 20-year old International Relations and Economics undergraduate student. She currently serves as Namibia's Youth Charter Representative for the Office of the African Union Youth Envoy. A fellow of the Apolitical Academy, she has served at the frontlines of #ShutItAllDown, a Namibian national protest movement against sexual violence with an estimated combined social and non-social reach of 11 million. Her youth professional development programme has been awarded the "Go Make A Difference grant."
Frederico Links is a research associate with the Institute for Public Policy Re-search (IPPR) in Namibia since 2009. His focus is on corruption, democracy and elections, party political finance, empowerment policies, Internet governance, and pub-lic procurement. Links has previously worked as a journalist for a range of Na-mibian newspapers and is a former editor of Insight Namibia magazine. He is a co-founder and current chairperson of ACTION Namibia which campaigns for greater ATI in Namibia. He is also co-founder of the Namibia Internet Gover-nance Forum (NamIGF) and first chairperson of the NamIGF working group.
Gbenga Sesan is a social entrepreneur who delivers Information and communications technology to the under served. He has had a career in the application of Information and Communication Technologies for Development – for individuals, institutions, nation-states, regional entities and the international community.
Gilbert Sendugwa is the executive director of Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), the largest and leading network of CSOs promoting the right to information, transparency and accountability across Africa. In 2019 he participated in a global campaign for UNGA resolution proclaiming September 28th as the International day for Universal Access to Information. He has twice been recognised by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for outstanding work in supporting the work of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Africa. Gilbert has promoted and overseen campaigns for adoption and implementation of access to information across sectors such as health, education, natural resources, public contracting, among others. In 2017, under his leadership, AFIC was recognised by Uganda’s Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) for its outstanding work in promoting open contracting in Africa.
Gwen Lister is an award-winning Namibian journalist, publisher, anti-apartheid and press freedom activist. She was the Chairperson of the Unesco-sponsored Windhoek conference on media in Africa in May 1990 which culminated in the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on a Free, Independent and Pluralistic African Media, and which in turn led to the UN General Assembly declaring May 3 each year as International Press Freedom Day.
For almost 2 decades, Ethiopian journalist, Henok Fente, has worked as an editor, media,
creator and educator along with managing broadcasts for VOA and BBC. He is the founder and executive director of MERSA Media Institute—a non-profit think tank and a member of
Ethiopia’s Media Law Working Group - a group tasked to review and draft media legislation.
Henry O. Maina is a Chevening Scholar and renowned freedom of expression advocate with over 20 years experience on the continent. He is a sitting Commissioner, Media Complaints Commission in Kenya serving his second 3-year term. He has taught media law and media ethics at Multimedia University of Kenya and University of Nairobi for the last 5 years. He is the immediate former Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa.
Hopewell Rugoho-Chin'ono is a Zimbabwean documentary film maker and journalist. He has worked as ITV News Africa Field Producer and The New York Times Zimbabwe foreign correspondent. In 2020, Hopewell amplified reports on alleged Covid-19 procurement fraud within the health ministry, which led to the arrest and sacking of Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. It was President Emmerson Mnangagwa who fired Obadiah in July for "inappropriate conduct" over the USD60 million medicines supply scandal. On July 20, 2020, Hopewell was arrested and charged with inciting public violence. He was freed in September on bail, but arrested again in November 2020 and charged with obstructing justice and contempt of court for a tweet about the court outcome of a gold smuggling scandal. Chin’ono was released on bail on January 27, 2021 after spending three weeks in prison. He expressed concern about the COVID-19 pandemic in the overcrowded Chikurubi Prison and accused the government of harassment for arresting him three times in five months.
IFEX, formerly International Freedom of Expression Exchange, is a global network of more than 119 independent non-governmental organisations that work at a local, national, regional, or international level to defend and promote freedom of expression as a human right. The IFEX Africa Brief is a monthly roundup of the major free expression developments on the continent in a given month.
The iSPEAK platform acts as a collective space for advocacy on media freedom, artistic freedom, academic freedom, the right to protest, the right to association and, importantly, access to information which is integral to all these rights. Here we’ll interrogate existing narratives on free expression issues from different perspectives; talk about representation and inclusion in and through the media – still a powerful agenda setter with enormous capacity to influence the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. This platform will host discussions, exhibitions, undertake and present research on topical issues, facilitate calls to action and joint advocacy to advance the right to free expression in all its dimensions in the most inclusive manner possible.
Jamesina Essie Leonora King is a Sierra Leonean jurist and a Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. She is currently the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and Country Rapporteur for Eritrea, Namibia, Somalia, The Gambia, and Zimbabwe. She was the first Sierra Leonean to be sworn in as a Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. Previously, she was the first Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, and was a Commissioner in the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone from 1996 to 2016
Jessica Mundie Uiras holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media. She is a full-time employee at the Namibia Media Trust where she advocates for freedom of expression, access to information and journalism excellence. Jessica is also a passionate international beauty pageant model and the co-founder of ‘Born 2 Model’. She recently launched project #HearUs, where she helps the hearing & visual impaired develop their full potential.
Juliet has a background in journalism and has worked in the fields of communications strategy, publicity, branding and market research across East and Southern Africa. A lot of her work has involved the exploration of avenues for African development through the intersection of heritage, rights and digital technologies. She has utilised these skills in the advocacy of rights including for access to medication and for online rights. More recently she explores connections between online rights and social innovation in Africa. She holds a Bjourn with specialisation in Digital Media (Rhodes University, South Africa) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management (Amani Institute, Kenya).
Justine Limpitlaw - BA LLB (Wits) LLM (Yale) - is an independent communications law consultant and a Visiting Adjunct Professor with the LINK Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand. She specialises in media, electronic communications and space and satellite law. Justine recently published the three-volume second edition of the Media Law Handbook for Southern Africa and is also the author of the two-volume Media Law Handbook for Eastern Africa which include extensive analysis of broadcasting and online regulatory environments.
Khadija Patel is a South African investigative journalist with publications for international media houses Sky News, Al Jazeera, Quartz, BBC World News and The Guardian. Khadija is currently the vice-chairperson of the International Press Institute and the former Editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian.
Michael D. Aggrey is a media activist and a management specialist, with over eight years of professional experience in the media industry in South Sudan. He is currently the Executive Director of Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS).
Naseem Tarawnah is an independent writer and editor whose work focuses on the intersection of freedom of expression and digital rights in the Middle East and North Africa region. As a regional editor for IFEX, he has covered issues including online censorship and how authoritarian states restrict access to information and control the online civic space. The writer behind the Jordanian blog The Black Iris, he is also a co-founder of the Jordanian independent media organization and online magazine 7iber, and the digital rights organisation Akhbarek, which monitors how women’s online free expression are being threatened in the Arab region. He has also worked extensively with civil society organisations in the region to help develop communication strategies designed to bring community voices to the forefront.
Natasha Fuyane is a writer and podcaster, among other things. She is a Zimbabwean living in the United Kingdom. She is passionate about amplifying African diaspora issues and creating spaces for conversations. Natasha (Nat) and Xolie (Xolie Ncube) are the voices behind Girl In Skies podcast based in the UK. Find the Girl In Skies podcast on SoundCloud, YouTube or Google Podcasts.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya is a Communications and Media specialist and a passionate human rights activist, having been involved in a number of advocacy campaigns to promote and defend freedom of expression in the Southern African region.
Reyhana Masters is a passionate advocate for media freedom and freedom of expression. She uses her grounding in journalism to weave compelling stories to sketch the African context and challenge regressive narratives on freedom of expression and policy issues on the continent.
Saikou Jammeh is a Gambian journalist and former Secretary General of the Gambia Press Union. He currently works as the Executive Director of Open Media Centre, a non-profit media organisation that specialises in investigative journalism.
Samba Dialimpa Badji is a Senegalese journalist with 20 years of experience in print, radio and online journalism. He has worked for several media outlets in Senegal, as well as for the BBC and Radio France Internationale. He is currently the editor of Africa Check, a fact-checking nonprofit based in Dakar.
Sarah Helen Chiumbu is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication, University of Johannesburg (the UJ). Before joining the UJ, she was a Senior Research Specialist in the Human and Social Development Research Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Prior to that she spent 7 years at the University of Witwatersrand where she was a senior lecturer in media and communication studies. She holds a PhD and MA in media studies from the University Of Oslo, Norway. Her research interests include media, democracy and citizenship, new and alternative media, policy studies, social movements, African political thought, decolonial and postcolonial theories.
Victor Mabutho is a freelance journalist and social media consultant based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He has a keen interest in Africa and has researched and published on a broad spectrum of issues affecting the continent, including politics, freedom of expression, elections and tech.
Dr Wanja P. Njuguna is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Com¬munication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Fol¬low her on @wanjasnotebook. Read her blog on http://wanjasnotebook. blogspot.com!
Zenzele Ndebele is a journalist, entrepreneur, Founder/Director of the Centre for Innovation and technology (CITE), and a member of the Matabeleland Collective, a network of Civil Society Organisations and Churches based in Bulawayo which aims to tackle issues related to freedom of expression.
Zoé Titus is passionate about the media and its potential to make a positive and profound change on the lives of people. She has dedicated the last 26 years of her life to advance media freedom and development in southern Africa in various dimensions – as a former regional director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and presently as Director of the Namibia Media Trust (NMT).