Free speech and freedom of expression take center stage

Free speech and freedom of expression take center stage

We are pleased to report on IDEA's participation in the WEXFO Conference and WEXFO Youth Network Conference 2024 in Lillehammer, Norway. Collaboration with WEXFO reflects our ongoing efforts to foster informed, active citizenship among young people.

We are pleased to report from IDEAs participation in both the WEXFO Conference and the WEXFO Youth Network Conference 2024, held from May 27-29 in Lillehammer, Norway.

The World Expression Forum (WEXFO) is a critical platform dedicated to promoting freedom of expression globally, with the Youth Network Conference focusing on empowering young voices in society.

Over the past year, we have engaged in developing strategic partnership project with WEXFO, aimed at promoting the importance of free speech and expression among young people. We are optimistic that our participation in this year's conference will pave the way for further collaborative efforts.

Bojan Marjanović, representing the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), contributed as a speaker exploring innovative debate methodologies that enhance critical thinking, media literacy, and participatory skills among youth. IDEA's work was recognized as crucial in building the resilience of young people, supporting free speech, fostering informed, active citizenship, and promoting democratic engagement. This recognition underscores the impact of our initiatives in the broader context of civic education.

The main WEXFO conference featured impactful speakers and focused on the global state of freedom of expression, the role of AI, and other pressing issues. Ahmed Samih Farag, working in organization ATLAS from Egypt highlighted the role of media in promoting freedom of expression in the Middle East, Felicia Anthonio from Access Now discussed digital rights and the fight against internet shutdowns.

Christo Grozev, executive direcot of Bellingcat and an investigative journalist, emphasized the importance of fact-checking and open-source intelligence that is becoming a key part of efforts to promote transparency. Gérard Biard, editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, shared insights on balancing free expression and societal sensitivities.

Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur, addressed the global recession of free speech and strategies to combat it while Kimberly Wehle, a constitutional law expert, examined legal frameworks protecting freedom of expression and how they are currently under enormous pressure.

It was particularly rewarding to see the WEXFO Youth event happening parallel to the conference reaching out to young people from the local community. This element of the conference provided a platform for youth engagement, allowing community members to participate in discussions and workshops focused on the importance of freedom of expression. The inclusion of local youth enriched the conference experience and highlighted the tangible benefits of fostering civic education at the grassroots level.

IDEAs representation at WEXFO underscores our commitment to fostering informed, active citizenship among young people. We are proud to support WEXFO and its efforts to create a global community that champions freedom of expression and youth engagement. The insights and connections gained from this conference will undoubtedly enrich our ongoing projects and initiatives aimed at empowering young people to become critical thinkers and active participants in their communities.

For more information about WEXFO and its youth programs, please visit WEXFO.


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