Democracy and the rule of law are coming under growing strain , while those who stand up to abuses of power and human rights violations face intimidations and physical attacks. Governments shamelessly mobilise institutions, state-controlled media, as well as organised right-wing groups, to silence and suppress their struggle for freedom.
Against the odds, Human Rights Defenders continue their fight and this podcast series aims to relay their voices to the wider world. From activists to academics, independent journalists and human rights lawyers, we’ll hear about their experiences of defending our fundamental rights from the frontlines.
Why they committed their lives to their cause; what have been the main obstacles in their journey; what support should be provided to victims; how to effectively monitor and communicate violations, as well as a general outlook on the human rights situation in their region, are some of the many topics we will cover with guests.
Turkey's Assault on Press Freedoms
In February 2021, Erol Önderoglu was the subject of an international civil society solidarity campaign, facing a 14-year sentence on charges of "terrorism", simply for supporting independent media targetted by Turkey's crackdown on press freedoms. Marking World Press Freedom Day, the Reporters Without Borders representative tells us more about his pending case, the repressive tactics used to silence critical outlets, as well as Turkey's cooling interest to achieve justice in the case of Jamal Khashoggi.
Albania's Elections: Ultimate Test for Democracy
Albania heads to the polls on April 25th following an 8-year, increasingly authoritarian rule of PM Edi Rama. Our guest, Albi Çela, stresses it will also be a major test for Albania’s fragile democracy, as the government introduces measures intended to pressure voters and suppress a high turnout. Against the odds, though, Civil Rights Defenders is encouraging wider youth participation by launching Vota Vlen (Your Vote Counts), a platform that educates and engages first-time voters in the process.
#LoveisLaw: Serbia's Defining LGBTI+ Moment
It's quite a time to be a LGBTI+ activist in Serbia. Having successfully held consecutive Pride marches since 2014, and preparations under way for Belgrade to host EuroPride in 2022, the community is bracing for landmark legislation which would legally regulate same-sex civil unions. Our guest, Marko Mihailovic, direct from the frontlines of this struggle, sheds his thoughts on recent accomplishments and the long road ahead to equality.
Hungary's Media Landscape
BBC correspondent for Central and Eastern Europe, Nick Thorpe, offers us a unique insight into the ways and means of Orban's regime, as well as an overall look at media literacy in the region.
Digital Rights in the Western Balkans
SHARE Foundation's Director of Tech, Andrej Petrovski tells us about the growing challenges to digital rights in the Western Balkans, threats related to surveillance, digital security and other online tips.
(Apologies for the poor sounds quality throughout the interview; we experienced some issues during recording)
Belarus: 6 months on
Six months have passed since pro-democracy protests began in Belarus following the falsification of the Presidential elections, and the repressive tactics of Lukashenka’s regime are showing no signs of slow-down. Instead, with the attention of the world's cameras shifting elsewhere, independent journalists and activists are being targeted and arbitrarily detained in their thousands. Human rights lawyer, Kristina Rikhter, tells us more.