Ten Years On from Tahrir Square
Freedom of Expression in the Middle East
Ten years ago, a wave of protest swept the Middle East and north Africa. Launched with an eyewitness account from Egypt’s Tahrir Square, IWPR’s Arab Spring reporting project featured voices from across the region; journalists, human rights defenders, activists and ordinary people caught up in a time of extraordinary change.
Ever since, IWPR has continued to work with local media, activists and minority communities on the ground, from documenting the ravages of the Syrian civil war to empowering women changemakers in Libya and supporting civil society in Tunisia.
A decade later, we look at the state of freedom of expression across the region, and how citizens continue to work for positive change and meet the challenges the crises created.
Why Local Voices Matter
The real heroes are those on the ground, fighting to bring truth to light.
Janine di Giovanni
Senior Fellow at Yale University
"Always when I think of press freedom I think of my colleague Jamal Khashoggi... Jamal’s work is not over – it lives on in the spirit of every reporter working to bring truth to light."
Egypt's Invisible Revolution
A profound social and cultural transformation continues, despite a sustained assault on political freedom.
Journalist & author
"In the years running up to and since the 2011 revolution, women have become far more assertive in their quest for equality."
Syria: The Burning Man
From reporting on war in Aleppo to protests in the streets of Paris.
Video-maker & photographer
"I wasn't sure when I would be killed, but I was pretty sure I would be - or at least injured. This was our reality in the city of Aleppo, because we didn’t know where or when the bombs would drop."
Writing for Syria
“When I see the people I’m reporting on, I can't just give up in despair.”
Gehan Al Haj Bakri
How Regimes Exploited the Social Media Revolution
The informational ecosystem that enabled dissent is now being used to suppress it.
Journalist & filmmaker
Tunisia’s Media Awakening
Freedom of expression continues to prove key to defending other civil liberties.
More Than Ever, Lebanon Needs Media Freedom
How can we recover from our crisis and rebuild our country if we cannot speak out?
Founder & president of the Media Association for Peace
"Without freedom of expression, I really fear for our future. As Lebanon suffers, journalists must be supported to play their crucial role in speaking truth to power."
Sudan’s Struggle For Reform
Many repressive laws have been repealed – but progress is slow.
Journalist & women’s rights activist
Yemenis Still Demand Their Rights
Despite their suffering, people refuse to give up on fundamental freedoms.
Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch
"I don’t regret taking part in the revolution, even though I had to leave my homeland. I was never forced to join the uprising, quite the opposite."
Bahrain: The Inconvenient Uprising
Our geo-political importance left us side-lined; but this is a long-term struggle.
Human rights advocate
"Bahrain has one of the oldest civil rights movements in the region. Almost half the population of Bahraini citizens took part in the protests, per capita the largest in the Arab Spring."