Freedom House has limited program presence in Europe. Currently, it works primarily in Turkey to protect professional and citizen journalists and to bolster the capacity of legal professionals.
Freedom House works in Europe to educate policy makers about critical threats to fundamental rights and freedoms in individual countries, across the region, and beyond; to protect activists, journalists, academics and other defenders of freedom; and to bolster the resilience and advocacy capacity of civil society organizations.
Turkey remains one of most challenging places in the European region to exercise one’s right to free speech and expression. In 2019, it maintained its status as the world’s worst jailer of professional journalists. Many others, including writers, civil society activists, artists, political figures, leaders from marginalized communities, digital rights activists, and everyday citizens face widespread persecution for criticizing the government.
Previous projects in Turkey:
- Strengthening Protection of Freedom of Expression in Turkey (2019-2020) — Freedom House worked to strengthen respect for freedom of expression in Turkey in partnership with a local organization, the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA). These joint efforts sought to bolster the number of qualified, practicing lawyers who can defend citizens’ fundamental right to free expression, produced research and policy analysis, and raised greater awareness among the international community on the crisis facing free speech in Turkey.
Key Initiative: Perceptions towards Freedom of Expression in Turkey
In July 2020, Freedom House, together with RIWI Corp, released a groundbreaking new report on freedom of expression and the media in Turkey. On the surface, the presence of a vibrant landscape for free expression seems contradictory, given that Turkey regularly tops global charts for the number of journalists jailed and has been ranked as Not Free since 2018 in Freedom in the World. However, what this report reveals are opportunities for expression among a dynamic population. Turkey's population is well-represented by young persons under 35, and media preferences are shifting from traditional outlets like television and radio to online platforms and social media. From these contradictions rise not only a clearer picture of the contours of expression, but also hope that this fundamental right can still be exercised.
Explore More Programs
Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program
The Dignity for All program provides emergency funds, support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and organizations under threat or attack due to their work for LGBTI human rights.
Through a robust portfolio of projects on the ground, emergency assistance, international advocacy, and special research Freedom House supports citizens and civic groups across the Eurasia region to actively participate in reforms, seek accountability for injustice, and implement meaningful ways to engage citizens as allies and supporters.
Lifeline Emergency Assistance Program
Freedom House administers several funds which offer emergency assistance to organizations and individuals around the world who are under threat because of their human rights work.