Because in my opinion freedom of expression is one of the most important factors of development it is unfortunate that we should live in a world where communication is sometimes quite rotten and therefore harms mental outlooks, thus hindering the development of countries in general. Furthermore, freedom of expression is the pillar of a democratic society, something most people in the world aspire to. This is why I have decided to gather a few testimonies from around the world. I think, and I am not the only one to think that we, who are lucky to live in countries which enjoy the right to freedom of expression, don’t talk enough about countries which need help to improve their rights.
Once freedom of expression exists, and the population is properly informed, development in all domains should follow or at least improve. We might then live in a better world. I have this idea, maybe a bit utopist, that convincing people that freedom of expression is a huge step forward for society is a real aim in life.
The first testimony I collected is one of a very good friend, Daniela Delgado Rueda, who lives in Columbia : « Freedom of expression in COLOMBIA HAS IMPROVED BUT IS NOT AS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES THAT HUMAN RIGHTS ARE RESPECTED BECAUSE COLOMBIA HAS EXPERIENCED THE WAR FOR MANY YEARS”.
Being a journalist in Colombia involves daily physical integrity at risk, just in the first quarter of 2017 have been counted more than 100 attacks against media professionals. This South American nation occupies the position 129 in the worldwide index of press freedom, among many things, due to the constant threat against reporters.
Usually, when we speak of a country in conflict, people tend to think that threats come from armed actors directly. But in the case of Colombia, the majority of crimes against journalists come from drug traffickers, paramilitaries and the state.
Although our Constitution talks about freedom of expression in article 20.
It guarantees to every person the freedom to express and disseminate their thought and opinions, to report and receive accurate and impartial information, and to establish mass media. These are free and have a social responsibility in order to guarantee the right to rectification on equitable terms. There shall be no censorship.
Obviously it is not because you speak that they kill you but there are normally attacks and threats to journalists or people.
We had a great humorist and journalist who was killed because he went against the political and gave his point of view but that was in 1999. His name was Jaime GARZON. ».
Then, another of my friend, Philip Marshall, gives me his feeling about freedom of expression in England: « Honestly, I find freedom of expression very, very important but it doesn’t (affect me)touch me directly. I am a musician and I write some pieces which are based on (personal experiences (periods or things) that I had or that I have. Some bands use music to convey political messages, or to talk about causes, this is very nice. I think that no matter what you chose to speak about, It mustn’t have frontier AS LONG AS it is not violent. ».
Mohammed, who lives in Saoudi Arabia, gives me some information about freedom of expression in his country (I had difficulties to obtain his testimony), even if it is a bit confused… : « I can’t really tell you… Freedom is not like in France… For example I can’t criticize the King or the crown. If I say bad things about them, I may be caught catch by the authorities. But we hope, with a new Crown, younger, that it will be better, maybe we might have free cinema, theatre and many things might be better… Likes European countries… ».
I also collected a testimony from a young French artist, Gwenaël Royer: « we are hugely lucky about freedom of expression. We can read newspapers expressing every opinion, it is the same on the internet. So we consider freedom of expression as banal, but it is not because our grand-parents faught for this freedom. For me, freedom of expression is most of all threatened by some systems of government. I don’t think that it is put in danger only by terrorism, because as we can see in our country, it has made no difference at all to freedom of expression in the press or other media. »
Finally, I shall share the testimony of Artun Sengün, a Turkish friend who just tells me that « In my country a lot of people now go to prison for (no reason) nothing. Since the putsch in 2016, a lot of laws limit freedom of expression. ».
We can finally notice that freedom of expression also depends on culture and history, We (European countries) are very lucky and we have to be conscience of that. And after we realize how lucky we are, we will be (better capable) more able to help other countries and fight along them for freedom of expression.
I would like to thanks my friends who gave me their testimony.