As violations of the right to free expression continue around the globe, the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) has emerged as a strong force of opposition. IFEX is a dynamic network that monitors, promotes and defends freedom of expression worldwide. IFEX was born in 1992 in Montréal, Canada when leading free expression organisations came together to create a mechanism that would improve cooperation and allow for the rapid exchange of information on free expression issues. IFEX has over 80 member organisations operating in more than 50 countries, the majority in the developing world and countries in transition.
The right to freedom of expression, enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is widely recognised as a vital component of any functioning democracy. When journalists are killed, newspapers banned, radio stations closed and free expression advocates jailed, citizens are denied access to the information they need to participate in decisions affecting their lives and communities. Under these conditions, citizens are also denied the security of an environment that allows for the safe exercise of their human rights.