Free expression, media responsibility and the roles Twitter and Facebook can play in reinvigorating democratic institutions will be key themes of a 9 October World Forum for Democracy debate.
The special lunchtime session will be moderated by International Herald Tribune journalist Melissa Eddy and features analysis and comment from international media experts.
Eynulla Fətullayev is an Azerbaijani journalist and editor-in-chief of independent Russian-language weekly Realny Azerbaijan and Azeri-language daily Gündəlik Azərbaycan.
He was imprisoned for four years in Azerbaijan for his criticism of government policies and comments on the Khojaly massacre. His sentence was condemned by Reporters Without Borders, International PEN, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience and 2011 “priority case”.
In 2009, Fatullayev was awarded the CPJ International Press Freedom Award for “defending press freedom in the face of attacks, threats or imprisonment.”
In May 2011, Fatullayev received a full pardon and was released after serving four years of his eight-year sentence.
Almost one year after his release, UNESCO awarded Fatullayev its 2012 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Tawakkol Karman is an influential and vocal political activist and journalist in Yemen. She has a degree in political science and is playing an important part in the current revolution in Yemen. Called by many the ‘Mother of the Revolution’, she was the first Arab Woman to receive a Nobel Peace price in December 2011 for her commitment to the protection of freedom and human rights in Yemen.
She is a member of the Islamic party in opposition, Al-Islah, and heads the organisation ‘Women journalists without chains’, created to promote human rights, especially freedom of expression and opinion.
Karman is deeply involved in narrowing the gap between the genders in Yemen. Indeed, she often declares that this revolution is an opportunity for women to ‘Stand up and be part of the solution’.
As the Revolution advanced, Karman became one of the most influential political figures in Yemen. In January 2011, she was caught in the international spotlight when she was seized from her car and thrown into prison. Thousands of people marched in the street calling for her release. This event was an important turning point in the revolution against the regime of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Facebook : Tawakkol.Abdulsalam.Karman
Twitter : @tawakkolkarman
Website : www.tawakkolkarman.net
Moez Masoud is an Egyptian television and radio presenter, religious leader and political activist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and a research affiliate with the Psychology and Religion Research Group at the University of Cambridge.
Respected by his peers as a Hafiz of the Qu’ran (someone who has memorised the entire Qur’an), Masoud is well known for trying to give the Muslim world a traditional, peaceful understanding of Islam in a Post-Modern society, constantly stressing the need for interfaith dialogue and a deradicalisation of the religion.
Masoud’s first Islam-related TV series “Al-Tareeq Al-Sah” (The Enlightened Path) generated generated over 1.5 million downloads on YouTube, and addressed taboo issues facing the Muslim World, such as alcohol, drugs, gender relations, homosexuality, and the roots of terrorism. Both TV and radio versions of “Thawra ‘ala El-Naf” (A Revolution Within), his latest programme, have received critical acclaim.
Moez Masoud is also known for his political activism during the Egyptian uprisings in winter 2011. He marched in Tahrir square against the Mubarak government and was critical of the interim government. After the revolution, he has worked on the Post-revolution Egyptian dialogue for economic, social and religious reforms.
Masoud is very active within the different social networks, with 250 000 followers on Twitter and 1.1 million on Facebook. He gives numerous conferences around the world, seeking to share his vision of traditional Islam in the modern world.
Jillian York is an American free-expression activist, journalist and travel-writer. In June 2011, ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine named her one of the top 100 intellectuals discussing foreign policy on Twitter.
York is Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Fondation (EFF). She is particularly interested in the effects of corporate intermediaries on freedom of expression and anonymity, as well as the disruptive power of global online activism. Prior to joining EFF, Jillian spent three years at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where she worked on several projects including the OpenNet Initiative.
York writes a regular column for Al Jazeera and has also been published by Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, MIT’s Technology Review, Bloomberg, and The Guardian, among others. In addition to her work at EFF, she is the co-founder of the award-winning multilingual site Talk Morocco, and serves on the board of directors of Global Voices Online.
Podcast interview: Jillian York – ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film should not be banned
Elizabeth Linder works as Politics & Government Specialist fir Europe, Middle East & Africa at Facebook. A California native, Linder joined Facebook four years ago during the very week the company reached its 100 million active user milestone.
After working with a small but growing team to build Facebook’s public relations strategy in Australia, Canada, Europe, India, and Japan, Linder moved across the Atlantic, where she developed the government & politics outreach program across the Europe, Middle East & Africa region and now serves as Facebook’s global governance strategist.
Linder liaises with government agencies, public administrations, political figures, and think tanks across the region at the local, national, and international levels to chart out effective strategies for 21st-century leadership, digital diplomacy and transparent and open government initiatives in a social media era.
Prior to joining Facebook, Mrs Linder focused on politics and education at YouTube as part of Google’s Global Communications & Public Affairs team. A scholar of French and Italian history, language and literature who wrote her thesis on the nineteenth-century metropolis, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University. She currently resides in London.
Kadri Gürsel (photo) was born in Istanbul, in 1961 and has been a journalist since 1986. He has worked for several daily newspapers, including Cumhuriyet and weekly news magazines before joining AFP.
Gürsel is the Chairman of the Turkish National Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI) and for the past five years, has been a regular columnist for the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet.
His main interests are foreign policy, international affairs and the Kurdish question, as well as Turkey’s evolving political Islam and its national and regional impacts.
Between 1993-97, Gürsel was the Agence France-Presse’s İstanbul based correspondent. In 1995, he was kidnapped in the Turkish south-east by the Kurdish PKK and wrote about the experience in his book entitled “Dağdakiler” (Those of the Mountains) published in 1996. The book contains his observations and analysis of the PKK’s armed struggle and the organisation’s mindset.
Born in 1951 in the city of Hama (200 km north of Damascus), Ali Ferzat is one of the most famous cartoonist of the Arab world. In 2011 he was beaten by masked gunmen for having published strips showing Syrian dictator Assad as Gaddafi. Soon after, he was awarded the Shakarov Prize of the European Parliament.
In 2001, Ferzat launched the newspaper Ad-Domari (The Lamplighter), the first privately owned newspaper in Syria since 1963. Despite arising great interest of the public, the paper was forced to close by the authorities. In 2002, Ferzat won the Prince Claus Award for the work done for the Syrian society.
In 1991, he was awarded the Gold Medal for the best Arab caricaturist by the Middle Eastern Press Establishment. In the same year he began to work for Tishreen, one of Syria’s state-owned daily newspapers.
In 1989 after exhibiting at l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, he was banned from Iraq, Jordan, and Libya because of one of his cartoons. He also received death threats.
His drawings have won several other awards: first prize for a caricature at the Sofia International Festival (1987); third prize at the Capravo International Festival (1985, Bulgaria); first prize at the Caricature festival of Damascus (1982, 1980); first prize at the Intergraph International Festival in Berlin (1980).