By 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media 16 April 2020
This article is based on an announcement originally published on the website of APC member organisation 7amleh.
7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media was awarded the 2020 Freedom of Expression Award by the Index on Censorship for its outstanding work educating the Palestinian public and the world about Palestinian digital rights issues. The Freedom of Expression Award is an international award granted yearly to a civil society organisation which is doing groundbreaking work in the defence of digital rights
7amleh was supposed to receive the prize during a ceremony that was planned to take place at the end of this month in London, but the global crisis related to coronavirus caused the cancellation of the ceremony and forced the event to be held online.
As a result of 7amleh’s work, the Palestinian public and civil society are increasingly aware of how the policies and practices of states and companies impact their digital rights and are able to defend their digital rights.
This includes research about the policies and practices of states and international technology companies, such as the annual report #HashtagPalestine and several in-depth research reports that cover Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as research about Facebook, Google Maps, and PayPal’s policies towards Palestinians. 7amleh also conducts research on the impact of this harsh environment on Palestinian digital life, including work on gender-based violence online and the chilling effect amongst Palestinian youth.
Inspired by the work of numerous civil society actors who campaigned for amendments to the Palestinian Cybercrimes Law, which was amended in 2018, 7amleh's work to develop a Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition enabled several organisations to share knowledge and information related to digital rights.
New statements in support of Palestinian digital rights were adopted by influential international bodies as a result of 7amleh's advocacy work with individuals, companies and states at Access Now’s RightsCon event, the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and the United Nations Human Rights Council, among others.
After several years of working to expand access to digital security education, digital security is being mainstreamed in the Palestinian education system. 7amleh’s achievements in this area include the publication of the first digital security manual in Arabic, training more than 2,000 Palestinians in digital security in 2019 alone, and the launch of the first-ever Digital Security Education Conference in Palestine.
Nadim Nashif, founder and executive director of 7amleh, expressed his gratitude for the award. “We value the role the Index on Censorship plays in supporting freedom of opinion and expression in the fight for digital rights, and consider this an achievement for Palestine. It motivates us even more to continue our work for Palestinian digital rights, to stop digital discrimination against Palestinians and finally to reach a secure, fair and free digital world.”
The Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards are presented in four categories: digital activism, arts, campaigning and journalism. 7amleh was this year's winner in the category of digital activism, while the other winners were: Russian artist Yulia Tsvetkova (arts), Turkish lawyer Veysel Ok and Bahraini activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei (campaigning), and OKO Press (journalism).