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SFLC.in has been nominated for 2019 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards. In total, 16 nominees were selected from over 400 crowdsourced nominations. The awards are given in four categories: Arts, Campaigning, Digital Activism and Journalism. The awards seek to honour individuals or organisations who have had a ‘demonstrable impact in tackling censorship’. Many of the nominees ‘face regular death threats, others criminal prosecution or exile. Some are currently in prison for daring to speak out against the status quo.’ The judges include investigative journalist Maria Ressa, one of Time magazine’s people of the Year 2018 and actor-activist Khalid Abdalla.

Index on Censorship describes itself as a non-profit that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide. They publish work by censored writers and artists, promote debate, and monitor threats to free speech. Index on Censorship directly supports groups and individuals facing censorship through their Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship. The fellowship offers a year-long programme of tailored support to a small group of fellows selected for their outstanding work in the fields of journalism, arts, campaigning and digital advocacy.

Based on the Index of Freedom’s announcement, nominees include ‘exiled street artist Ms. Saffaa whose murals highlight women’s rights and human rights violations in Saudi Arabia; Nigeria’s Institute for Media and Society, which goes to great lengths to improve the country’s media landscape by challenging government regulation and aiding the creation of community radio stations in rural areas; Colombia’s Fundación Karisma, which fights back against internet trolls and promotes freedom of expression online; and The Center for Investigative Reporting of Serbia (CINS), an independent group of investigative journalists exposing corruption in the country.’

SFLC.in has been selected in Digital Activism category. The announcement mentions SFLC.in tracking ‘internet shutdowns in India, a crucial service in a country with the most online blackouts of any country in the world. The tracker was the first initiative of its kind in India and has quickly become the top source for journalists reporting on the issue. As well as charting the sharp increase in the number and frequency of shutdowns in the country, the organisation has a productive legal arm and brings together lawyers, policy analysts and technologists to fight for digital rights in the world’s second most populous country. It also provides training and pro-bono services to journalists, activists and comedians whose rights have been curtailed.

We feel humbled by this nomination and thank Index on Censorship for it. We will continue to focus on our work with a renewed passion.