The Africa Freedom of Information Centre’s executive director, Mr. Gilbert Sendugwa has been elected to the governing council of IFEX for a consecutive two-year term.
IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, is an umbrella body that brings together over 120 civil society organisations spanning all continents and is made up of journalists, artists, digital advocates, legal experts and human rights defenders.
The election of Mr. Sendugwa comes as a vote of confidence in the work that AFIC is doing in the freedom of expression arena. He was one of those elected from the 23 strong group that made it to the last round.
Speaking from the sidelines of the IFEX Annual General Assembly held in Berlin Germany on April 8, 2019, Mr. Sendugwa said he was pleased to be back on the council.
“What this means for me is it is a vote of confidence by members on the work I have done to advance freedom of expression and access to information in Africa. It is also a challenge for AFIC, its membership and the IFEX community to double our efforts to ensure that freedom of expression flourishes everywhere,” he said.
Elections to the IFEX Council happen every two years and are usually conducted on an individual basis. Earning a place on the council is highly coveted and very competitive too. This time round, the council has only two members from Africa, that is Gilbert Sendugwa of AFIC and Thabani Moyo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, out of the overall 13 members.
“Having a member who understand the African context brings great value and clarity in policy decision-making. No one is free until all are free,” said Sendugwa in his acceptance speech.
The previous elections in which Mr. Sendugwa first joined the council were held in 2017 in Salle de bal oust, in Montreal, Canada.
The IFEX network of organisations is connected by a shared commitment to defend and promote freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and has a membership that brings individual strengths to free expression issues and provides the ability to collaborate in the common goal of defending and promoting free expression.
No other organisation brings together such a range of international and local free expression groups, enhancing international understanding of the issues and creating opportunities for advocacy work.
The 2019 IFEX Strategy Conference was designed for participants to step out of their realities, meet colleagues, hatch plans and learn how they are part of a collaborative network that supports their efforts and looks out for them. The idea was to offer a dynamic space for creative dialogue about IFEX’s work.