Today Hivos launched a new fund for freedom of expression in the Middle East. Freedom of expression and the freedom to criticise or ridicule have been the core values of Hivos ever since its foundation. These values were attacked last week in Paris, as they are under constant attack in the Middle East. The Fund will be linked to existing Hivos programmes in the field of arts, culture, ICT and media.
In response to the assault on freedom of expression in Paris on 7 January 2015, Hivos reaffirms its support to people worldwide who dare to be different. People who challenge the status quo every day and risk their lives in doing so. “Now more than ever we need to stand with them”, says Monique Doppert, programme officer for Expression and Engagement at Hivos. “Our reaffirmation will be accompanied by a financial increase in our support for freedom of expression in the Middle East.”
By providing 100.000 euros for individual productions (2.000 to 5.000 euros each), we will support visual artists, designers, cartoonists, graffiti artists, photographers and video makers who celebrate freedom of expression through their images.
Hivos will work with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) to disseminate the support, actively linking it to current Hivos programmes in the field of arts & culture, ICT, media and entrepreneurship to foster a thriving creative sector in the region.
Since 2004, Hivos has been supporting a diverse group of journalists and creatives resulting in productions like the film ‘Return to Homs’, the Syrian satirical puppet show ‘Top Goon’, the online platform Mideast Youth (winner of the 2014 Human Rights Tulip), the Syria Deeply website and ‘The Outpost' magazine from Lebanon.
AFAC envisions a thriving Arab art and cultural scene, one that is confident in its expression, open to dialogue, accessible to all and sustained locally by committed patrons. Two fundamental principles guide AFAC's mode of work: transparency in the grant giving process and independence through a diversity of funding sources.