Freedom Forum Speakers Defy Dictatorships. Watch It Live
The 2011 Oslo Freedom Forum program begins today, featuring Mona Eltahawy, Jody Williams, Zoya Phan, and George Ayittey, among many other extraordinary speakers. Today’s presentations will look at the structure of tyranny and testimonies from exceptional individuals who have struggled against it, as well as panel discussions focused on the changing landscape in the Middle East and the modern struggle for information and freedom of expression.
All speeches and panel discussions will be streaming live at www.OsloFreedomForum.com, beginning at 9:15 CEST (3:15am EST). Viewers can participate in all panel discussions by following the forum on Twitter at @oslofreedomfrm and using the hashtag #OFF2011 to ask questions, or by emailing email@example.com
"We have a remarkable gathering of individuals here. Each one, in their unique way, has transformed society," said Thor Halvorssen, founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, at a press conference yesterday morning. "If human rights are going to be realized everywhere, it will owe—in some significant part—to the work of these extraordinary people."
Today’s first session—themed The Anatomy of Dictatorship—will feature American neuroscientist James Fallon; Burmese human rights activist and author Zoya Phan; North Korea expert and journalist Barbara Demick; Belarusian journalist Zhanna Litvina; Ghanaian economist George Ayittey; Moroccan media pioneer Ahmed Benchemsi; and former president of Peru Alejandro Toledo. The session will examine all aspects of dictatorships—from the perspective of both victims and tyrants—with the aim of inspiring ideas to peacefully dismantle authoritarian regimes.
A panel discussion on the Evolution of Censorship will follow. Moderated by Canadian free speech champion John Ralston Saul, the panel will Egyptian-American analyst Mona Eltahawy; Russian journalist and editor Gregory Shvedov; Danish human rights lawyer Jacob Mchangama; and Brazilian journalist Fernão Lara Mesquita. The panelists will discuss the changing nature of modern-day restriction of speech and information.
In the session themed Against All Odds, speakers—including Nobel Laureate Jody Williams; Malawian youth journalist Violet Banda; Jamaican-American gay rights activist Thomas Glave; Argentinian author and reporter Uki Goñi; and leading Chinese AIDS activist Wan Yanhai—will share their human rights struggles and successes in the face of overwhelming circumstances.
The day will close with the Dawn of a New Arab World panel discussion, featuring Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni; Libyan cyberactivist Ghazi Gheblawi; Sudanese blogger Amir Ahmad Nasr; and outspoken Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja. Moderated by BBC News reporter Philippa Thomas, the panel will discuss the emerging pro-democracy movements in the Middle East.
For an up-to-date schedule of today’s sessions at the Oslo Freedom Forum, visit www.OsloFreedomForum.com/live.
HRF is an international nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights in the Americas. It centers its work on the twin concepts of freedom of self-determination and freedom from tyranny. These ideals include the belief that all human beings have the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes former prisoners of conscience Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Václav Havel, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.