BeMyVoice: A Transnational Solidarity Movement in support of Freedom of Speech

Fotoessa is an accredited member of the Anna Lindh Foundation network of Greece and proudly participates in the transnational solidarity program BeMyVoice in support of freedom of speech. BeMyVoice is an action backed by the Anna Lindh Foundation in the Euro Mediterranean area and the European Union with the participation of 16 country-members.   

BeMyVoice invites everyone to jointly uphold the right of freedom of expression by transmitting the messages of people from another country through video and a variety of creative channels. BeMyVoice thus aims to elevate the human right of freedom of expression to a transnational sphere and unite citizens beyond borders around this common cause.

  1. Residents in all Member Countries will have the chance to anonymously submit statements either during local workshops or via the website www.bemyvoice.world. Alternatively, anyone can submit statements in Fotoessa’s site www.fotoessa.gr or send a mail at contact@fotoessa.gr
  2. Partners will distribute the collected statements to different partner organizations who will organize local workshops inviting participants to represent a selection of statements from other countries. Participants will use a variety of different means of representation, including acting, songs, poems, theatre, photography and designs.
  3. In a third stage, the produced representations will be published widely and debated during local conferences.

Finally, partners and participants will meet during a transnational closing event in order to debate the conclusions to be drawn from the project. Main target groups include people facing situations of discrimination or repression, artists, but also the larger public.

The project aims to unite all networks of the Foundation, while 16 countries are officially participating in this partnership and will last for 11 months. Offline activities will take place in all 16 partner countries while people from all member countries will be involved online.

Overall Aims

The aim of the project is thus to highlight the struggles and hardships people may be facing who don’t live very far from us. While the project does not aim to inculpate, it instead aims to create empathy with the people who submit their statements, to foster mutual understanding about current challenges in the region of the Anna Lindh Foundation, and to uphold the right to freedom of expression using transnational solidarity.

– Motivate the citizens in Anna Lindh Foundation countries to support each other in the protection of freedom of speech;

– Helping people living in Member Countries of the Anna Lindh Foundation understand the variety of living conditions which people face in their countries;

– Fostering awareness on the importance of freedom expression as a tool to make our societies more resilient and safer;

– promoting the role of intercultural dialogue and the arts with regard to previously mentioned objectives.

Needs assessment

At several instances, the current crisis has highlighted the importance of active citizenship and the respect for fundamental human rights. If the discussion on the emerging disease had not been silenced in some parts of the world, we all could potentially have limited the impact of covid-19 to a far greater extent. Active citizenship can thus help make our societies more resilient and fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular the freedom of expression, support us in making our societies safer. Freedom of expression is usually debated and handled on a national level. By elevating freedom of expression to a transnational sphere using intercultural dialogue, participants will be able to analyze which aspects of this right belong to the cultural realm and which may be universally applicable. This analysis will help both citizens and decision-makers understand the situations in which freedom of expression enables our societies to cope successfully with current and future challenges.

Expected long-term impact

BeMyVoice aims to elevate the human right of freedom of expression to a transnational sphere and unite citizens beyond borders around this common cause. By fostering a transnational debate on freedom of expression, the project aims to create awareness on both the importance of this right and also the responsibility it attributes to the individual citizen. Participants as well as spectators will be able to analyse and debate multiple cultural perspectives on this topic. Media products created by the project will be used as an educational resource in order to initiate debates among students, but also at Mediterranean conferences or events. The cross-sectorial cooperation initiated by the project will strengthen the work of all actors involved. The platform will continue to operate after the project period in order to give a voice in particular to disadvantaged people or persons facing situations of discrimination, fostering solidarity among these persons as well as artists from various fields, professionals in citizenship education, media and intercultural dialogue, decision makers, and lawyers.

Finally, BeMyVoice aims to become a shared platform among all ALF networks, strengthening their cooperation and providing them with an instrument to debate our shared values. The platform will create awareness among the general population about the living conditions in different parts of the Mediterranean and achieve a wide outreach contributing to the renown of the ALF.