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Article 19

Article 19
Motto Defending freedom of information and expression
Founded Template:If empty
Founder J. Roderick MacArthur
Greg MacArthur
Aryeh Neier
Martin Ennals
Type International nongovernmental organization
Companies House number 2097222
Registration no. Charity number 327421
Focus Freedom of expression and freedom of information
  • London, United Kingdom

51°31′23″N 0°6′29″W / 51.52306°N 0.10806°W / 51.52306; -0.10806Coordinates: 51°31′23″N 0°6′29″W / 51.52306°N 0.10806°W / 51.52306; -0.10806{{#coordinates:51|31|23|N|0|6|29|W| |primary |name=

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Key people
Dr. Agnès Callamard
Executive Director
₤2,155,702 (2011)
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Mission "Article 19 works so that people everywhere can express themselves freely, access information and enjoy freedom of the press."
Formerly called
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Article 19 (stylized ARTICLE 19) is a London-based human rights organization with a specific mandate and focus on the defense and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide founded in 1987.[1] The organization takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:


Article 19 monitors threats to free expression around the globe; lobbies governments to adopt laws that conform to international standards of freedom of expression; and drafts legal standards that strengthen media, public broadcasting, free expression, and access to government-held information. The Media Law Analysis Unit, established in 1998,[2] also produces legal analysis and critiques of national laws, including media laws. In addition, Article 19 provides legal counsel on behalf of individuals or groups whose rights have been violated; and provides capacity-building support to non-governmental organizations, judges and lawyers, journalists, media owners, media lawyers, public officials and parliamentarians.

Article 19’s work is organised into five Regional Programmes—Africa,[2] Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East—and a Law Program. It has over 70 staff and regional offices in Bangladesh, Brazil, Kenya, Senegal, and Tunisia. It works in partnership with nearly 100 organizations in more than 60 countries around the world.


Article 19 is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a clearinghouse for a global network of non-governmental organizations that monitor free expression violations worldwide. It is also a member of the Tunisia Monitoring Group, a coalition of 21 free expression organizations that lobbied the Tunisian government to improve its human rights record.[3] And it is the coordinator of the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA), a coalition of international organizations working to promote and protect freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

Article 19 is a founding member of the Freedom of Information Advocates (FOIA) Network, a global forum that aims to support campaigning, advocacy and fundraising on access to information through the exchange of information, ideas and strategies. The FOIA Network also aims to facilitate the formation of regional or international coalitions to address access to information issues.



Article 19 lists its regular financial contributors on its website:


Shortly before his death in 1984, J. Roderick MacArthur established a vision for Article 19 as a global human rights organization that would focus on censorship issues.[4] His son Greg MacArthur, director of the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation, set the wheels in motion for the creation of the organization inspired by an Article from the Universal Declaration of Human rights.[5] Through Aryeh Neier—a lawyer and human rights leader who was formerly the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (1970–1978) before founding Human Rights Watch in 1978[6] -- Martin Ennals was appointed to realize the idea.[7] Ennals brought his experience from UNESCO, the National Council for Civil Liberties, and the Nobel Prize-winning Amnesty International, and started the Article 19 organization in 1986 with a budget around $1,500,000 and a staff of eight with its first executive director Kevin Boyle.[8][9][10][11]

Article 19 Executive Directors
Kevin Boyle 1987-1989 [8][9]
Dr Frances D'Souza 1989-2002 [4]
Andrew Puddephatt 2003-2004 [12][13][14][15][16]
Dr Agnès Callamard 2004–2013 [17]
Thomas Hughes 2013–present [18]

As executive director, Kevin Boyle oversaw the first report that would summarize the current state of censorship on a global scale in a report released in 1988. The Article 19 report "Information, Freedom and Censorship" established a benchmark from which to move forward. In the report, Article 19 was critical of the United Kingdom where the government could interfere in the British Broadcasting Company's editorial decisions. Other directors would also criticize the United Kingdom frequently even though the organization is based in London.[19]

Under the leadership of Boyle, Article 19 also took up as its first campaign, the defence of one of its own. Among Article 19's first directors on its Board of Directors was South African journalist Zwelakhe Sisulu.

Article 19, International Board of Trustees, 2011-2012
Catherine Smadja Chair
Nigel Saxby-Soffe Treasurer
Heather Rogers Trustee (term ended July 2012)
Galina Arapova Trustee
Charlie Beckett Trustee
Lydia Cacho Trustee
Evan Harris Trustee
Liz Kennedy Trustee
Lawrence Mute Trustee (term ended May 2012)
Malak Poppovic Trustee

The Sisulu name was well known worldwide as both of his parents were activists against South Africa's Apartheid system. Sisulu himself had established his own reputation as the leader of a press strike by black journalists in 1980. For this activity, he was arrested and banned from journalism for 3 years. After his disappearance in 1986 and after his arrest was made official, Article 19 took up the case of its own human rights defender.[19] Sisulu was released two years later.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Dr Frances D'Souza,[28] a founder and former director of Relief and Development Institute focusing on famine monitoring and relief operations, became the organization's second executive director 4 July 1989. She brought with her years of experience as a human rights defender from the field. Among her signature campaigns was the defence of Salman Rushdie after Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwā, or religious ruling, 14 February 1989 based on the charge that the book The Satanic Verses (1988) was a work of blasphemy. The religious ruling was a death sentence. D'Souza became the chairwoman of the Salman Rushdie Defence Committee while also executive director of Article 19 and became the writer's main spokesperson.[29][30]

D'Souza also participated in the drafting of the Johannesburg Principles in 1995.[31]


In June 2009, Article 19 moved to Farringdon Road in London to become part of the Free Word Centre promoting literature, literacy and free expression.

See also


  1. ^ "Congratulations to Article 19 for Two Decades of Speaking Out for Free Expression". 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  2. ^ a b International Freedom Of Expression Exchange (1998-01-21). "Africa-at-Large: Article 19 Opens African Office, Media Freedom Unit". Africa News. 
  3. ^ Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (Cairo) (2012-02-19). "Tunisia: IFEX-TMG Concerned By Series of Setbacks". Africa News. 
  4. ^ a b Fein, Esther B. (1992-08-16). "Conversations/Frances D'Souza; Working to Nourish Democracy Where Minds Are Being Starved". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  5. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (2001-12-06). "Greg MacArthur, Philanthropist And Green Party Supporter, 53". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  6. ^ Fitzgerald, Mary (2012-06-04). "Standing up for the universality of human rights" (INTERVIEW). Irish Times. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  7. ^ "History & Achievements". Article 19. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  8. ^ a b Moorehead, Caroline (1986-10-31). "New body set up to attack censorship / Launch of Article 19 organization". The Times (London). 
  9. ^ a b Allemang, John (1988-11-09). "Group fights worldwide censorship". The Globe and Mail (Canada). 
  10. ^ Pepinster, Catherine (1991-10-06). "At the forefront of freedom". The Observer. 
  11. ^ "Who was Martin Ennals?". Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  12. ^ Centre for the Study of Human Rights. "Andrew Puddephatt". London School of Economics. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  13. ^ Barker, Dennis (1989-10-04). "Wednesday People: Champion in the cause of liberty". The Guardian (UK). 
  14. ^ Wolmar, Christian (1989-10-30). "Defender of Liberty in a state of decay". The Independent. 
  15. ^ Puddephatt, Andrew (2003-05-24). "Letter: Mind your language". The Daily Telegraph. 
  16. ^ Puddephatt, Andrew (2004-08-25). "ALERT: Article 19 expresses concern about NGO bill". IFEX. 
  17. ^ "Agnes Callamard". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Executive director - Thomas Hughes". Article 19. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Human Rights: First World Report on Censorship Blasts Britain". Inter Press Service. 1988-05-23. 
  20. ^ "Black editor abducted / Zwelakhe Sisulu in South Africa". The Guardian (UK). 1986-06-28. 
  21. ^ Associated Press (1986-06-29). "U.S. Editors' Society Urges Pretoria to Free a Journalist". New York Times. 
  22. ^ "Minister frees detained editor / New Nation newspaper editor Sisulu released by South African authorities". The Guardian (UK). 1986-07-19. 
  23. ^ Hultman, Tami (2012-10-05). "South Africa: Zwelakhe Sisulu - a Remembrance". AllAfrica. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  24. ^ Findley, Timothy (1987-03-21). "Writing: the pain and the pleasure The power to persuade is mitigated wherever you turn". Toronto Star. 
  25. ^ Brittain, Victoria (1989-12-07). "Editor says black South African paper is threatened with closure". The Guardian (UK). 
  26. ^ "Tributes paid to ‘revolutionary journalist’ | Media". BDlive. 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  27. ^ Sisulu, Zwelakhe (2008-12-11). "Statement by Zwelakhe Sisulu on the Occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of Article 19" (PDF). Article 19. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  28. ^ Sometimes misspelled as De Souza.
  29. ^ Usborne, David; Jury, Louise; Cornwell, Rupert (1998-09-25). "Secret talks that ended a 10-year ordeal". The Independent (London). 
  30. ^ "Review: Publish and be damned: Writers, broadcasters, friends and publishing insiders recall what it was like to be caught up in the most controversial story in recent literary history, The Satanic Verses and the ensuing fatwa against its author, as Salman Rushdie prepares to bring out his eagerly awaited memoir". The Guardian (London). 2012-09-15. 
  31. ^ Shamdasani, Ravina (2002-12-05). "Human rights specialist hits out at anti-subversion laws". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). Retrieved 2013-01-26. 

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