Sign up for weekly updates


A new emergency fund to support persecuted writers, journalists, cartoonists and artists in the Middle East and North Africa region has been launched, following an international gathering of Arab writers, journalists, cartoonists and writers in Amman, Jordan in December 2005.

Bayt El-Kalima, or Kalima House (The House of the Word), was launched at the International Conference on Freedom of Expression in the Arab World, organised by the Arab Archives Institute (AAI).

Held in co-operation with the Canadian Human Security Programme, the conference was attended by journalists, academics and artists from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine and Jordan. Representatives of the IFEX Clearing House, PEN and the Norway-based Human Rights House Foundation also participated.

The new fund will be aimed at providing financial support to Arab journalists, writers, cartoonists and artists who are being persecuted for expressing their views and deprived of their means of living as a result of their work.

AAI Director and Kalima House Coordinator Sa'eda Kilani says there will be an extensive campaign to drum up donations for the emergency fund. She says Kalima House will also draft bylaws in consultation with experts to ensure transparency in managing its affairs.

The international conference, held from 30 November to 1 December, shed light on the attacks experienced by writers, journalists, cartoonists and artists in the region.

Renowned Palestinian cartoonist Imad Hajjaj displayed his censored cartoons, while Lebanese artist Ahmad Ka'bour gave a presentation on political songs and their influence on the progress of democracy in Lebanon and the Arab world.

Prominent Lebanese journalist Gisèle Khoury recounted the life of her late husband Samir Kassir, who was assassinated in a car bomb attack in June 2005.

At the conference, AAI also launched its new book, "Jordan Press Association - The Unwritten History", which documents the influence of the JPA over the country's press and how it suppresses media freedom.

For more information about the fund or the book, contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

For information on other emergency funds for journalists, writers and human rights defenders, see:

Latest Tweet:

En #Brasil se lucha por más #transparencia: ONG lanza herramienta para conocer datos del financiamiento electoral 2…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.