Establishing international management for future development
The database is dynamic in form and concept, built on professional principles and designed both as a model for the continuous compiling of data on censorship and freedom of expression, and as a model for efficient international collaboration across professional boarders.
The proprietors, regarding the establishment of an international Steering Committee and project administration as the key to successful development in the future, began in 1999 planning the model for continued development of the database. Hence an international Steering Committee and administration was established in 2000. In this expert network of co-operation, the major international organisations IFLA International Federation of Library Associations and IFEX - International Freedom of Expression eXchange Clearing House play key roles, as well as the leadership of the Library of Alexandria and the Egyptian Human Rights Organisation
IFLA, representing the world forum for library organisations and national libraries, launched FAIFE. - Committee on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in 1997. FAIFE, defending and enhancing freedom of expression and free access to information, also monitoring and reporting on the world status of intellectual freedom.
IFEX, currently counting 57 members on all continents, established in 1992, represents the main global network of freedom of expression organisations, daily monitoring and reporting on freedom of expression abuses world wide.
Main future challenges
Recognising the magnitude of the task and the fact that the database is a pioneering project, we wish to emphasise that the project represents a dynamic model, intended to be developed and improved through the contributions from a steadily growing network of partners.
The challenges are many; not least concerning the content of the database.
One priority being to include censorship of other media such as Internet and artistic expressions such as drama, film and visual arts.
Another priority should be to include a category on single articles on freedom of expression. This need has been expressed by many partners, especially in Southern countries where book publications at times are prohibitive. We regret that the systematic compiling of essays and articles were beyond our capacity.
Of equal importance is to secure resources for countries lacking the funds needed to make documentation of their censorship internationally accessible.
Completing this monument to the long struggle for freedom of expression will require time, resources and dedication. Yet this is but a small price to pay for the commemoration of all the thousands throughout history who lost their freedom or lives defending free expression.
Ensuring the future expertise
As important as building a global network of co-operation for the future of the database, is investing in the expert care of the database tomorrow. This constituted a major reason for engaging the students of the Oslo College in the production of the database.
Such partnerships with educational institutions should be pursued, with the objective of providing impulses to the education of librarians and media workers, and to encourage institutions of higher education to actively participate in furthering international protection of free access to information and freedom of expression.