7amleh Awarded the Freedom of Expression Award 2020

We are so happy here at the Galilee Foundation to celebrate the success of an old partner, 7amleh, The Arab Centre for The Advancement of Social Media, in their achievement of a UK prize. Below is their own report on their prodigious work, its extraordinary success and what it means for Palestinians.

LONDON, UK, 16 April 2020 – 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 organization which is doing groundbreaking work in the defense 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 Corona has caused the cancellation of the ceremony and forcing 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. This includes an 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. We also research the impact of this harsh environment on Palestinian digital life including work on gender-based violence online (GBVO), and the chilling effect amongst Palestinian youth. 

Inspired by the work of several civil society actors, who campaigned for amendments to the Palestinian Cybercrimes law, which was amended in 2018, our work to develop a Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition enabled several organizations 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 our advocacy work with individuals, companies and states at Access Now’s Rights Con, the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, 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 2000 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.”

It is worth noting that the “Freedom of Expression” award comes in 4 categories announced annually by the Foundation, and the Campaign Center won the award in the category of digital activity, while Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and Veysel Ok won the category of campaigns and advocacy, and Yulia Tsvetkova won the arts category.

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