ELLA Policy Brief: Civil Society’s Regional Network for Advancing Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

Abstract

The Regional Alliance for the Freedom of Expression and Information (the Alliance), an innovative civil society network, has had a major role in promoting freedom of expression and the right to information regionally. The Alliance coordinates the efforts of 23 civil society organisations (CSOs) from 19 American countries and carries out extensive advocacy work at the regional level. This network’s experience, achievements and lessons learned could be useful to CSOs in Sub-Saharan and South Asian countries aiming to advance freedom of expression and access to information in their own regions.

Key Lessons:

•Forming a regional network can be a useful mechanism for coordinating the efforts of individual civil society organisations of various countries.

•Advocacy actions at the regional and country level can be more effective if they are undertaken by a regional network representing a large number of individual organisations, one that is seen as a credible and trustworthy actor.

•For a regional network to work well, it is important that there is a leadership mechanism in place that deals with the differences among members and coordinates their activities. The Secretariat has played that role, articulating members’ contributions and making sure that all have equal leadership, participation, and voice. Member organisations should also cooperate actively and devote time and effort to support the network’s activities.

Citation

Banfi, K.; Oropeza, J. ELLA Policy Brief: Civil Society’s Regional Network for Advancing Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 4 pp.

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