Democracy & Justice

Liberties’ August Recap | Back-to-school Edition: Activism, Environmentalism & the Right to Privacy

A monthly round-up of Liberties' work: how not to talk about climate change, different types of activism, and why our right to privacy is more important than ever.

by LibertiesEU

Welcome to Liberties' monthly round-up, where we catch you up on the most pressing human rights topics we've been working on. This month, as we watched wildfires rage across Greece, we contemplated how the right kind of messaging can turn collective grief into collective action, but only if it's done right. Sticking with the theme of mass mobilization, we reflected on different types of activism and how activist movements shaped today's world. Turning to digital rights, we traced the right of privacy to its origins in property and asked a pivotal question - how do we protect our right to privacy in an era of being extremely online?

In a nutshell

✈️ Liberties’ in Colombia: Jet setter Senior Advocacy Officer Orsolya Reich travelled to Bogota, Colombia to take part in a CIVICUS Monitor research partners’ workshop, where Liberties is responsible for monitoring civic space in Europe

📵 No arbitrary #InternetShutdowns: Big win for free speech as Commissioner Thierry Breton confirmed online blocking of social platforms is not permitted under Digital Services Act.

💻 DSA comes into force: On 25th August the Digital Services Act, new rules to make the internet safer, came into effect.

🔇 SLAPPs corrode core civil rights: CASE’s 2023 Update Report update details the growing threat bogus lawsuits pose to our right to free speech, our right to know & media freedom. Read it here.

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In focus

Euronews Op-ed: The world is on fire’ is a terrible environmental message

The tendency in the climate movement is to lead with devastating facts and horrifying images, like how many football pitches worth of Amazon have been lost to logging in the last five minutes, or how many hectares of forest a burning in wildfires. This kind of messaging isn’t capable of moving anyone who is not already on the side of climate activism into action. It's not that we don’t need to remind people of the speed or severity of the damage being caused to the planet. But if we want to bring people to our side, it can’t be the dominant ingredient in our messaging, Israel Butler, Liberties’ Head of Framing & Messaging writes. Read it here.

Do you want to join us? Check out our vacancies.

Are you a student interested in a career in communications in the NGO sector? We are looking for a Communications & Campaigns Assistant (Intern) to join us for an internship position.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. More information here.

In case you missed our explainers...

What is Activism: Definition, Types, Role, Examples, Importance

From the 8-hour workday to women being able to vote, many of the rights and liberties we enjoy today weren't given to us voluntarily. Instead, we have activists to thank, who fought tooth and nail to challenge the status quo and demand social change. Activists challenge the status quo by use their voice to bring about social, political, economic or environmental reform. There is no single way to conduct activism - any collective action which draws attention to an issue constitutes activism.

Read our explainer article on different types of activism and the most influential activist movements.

What Is the Right to Privacy?

Privacy is essential for democracy to function properly because it creates the space for citizens to come together without censoring ourselves. By creating a sphere separate from others where we can make autonomous decisions, the right to privacy gives us the space to be ourselves, exercise personal freedom and reach our own conclusions about society’s big questions. But protecting our right to privacy has become more challenging, as technology normalises broadcasting our personal lives online and surveillance tools are increasingly more sophisticated. Read it here.

Member's Corner

2022 in review: The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has published their annual report. Well done on their amazing achievements protecting democratic freedoms. Read it here.

Unaccompanied foreign minor: Human Rights Monitoring Institute highlights a possible violation of the rights of a refugee child investigated by the Office of the Ombudsperson for Child's rights in Lithuania. Read more here.

Happy Gay Pride: Civil Rights Defenders, alongside LGBTQIA+ partners from Europe and Eurasia, took part in Stockholm's Pride Parade. Set it right, join the fight!

What we're reading

  • AI:

I’m A Luddite (and So Can You) - The Nib

These Women Tried to Warn Us About AI - Rolling Stone

  • Privacy:

The Influence Industry Explorer

Your face is ours: The dangers of facial recognition software - France 24 (Doc Film)

  • Digital Rights:

The EU’s Digital Services Act goes into effect today: here’s what that means - The Verge

Next month

Democracy Drinks, Thursday 21st September

We’ll be publishing details about our back-to-school Democracy Drinks edition in the coming weeks. To celebrate our recent move, we'll be hosting the event at our new office space which we share with Stiftung Neue Verantwortung.

All we can say for now is that it will be on the topic of online civic space and we'll be inviting a very special guest. Sign up to our mailing list to learn more.

Location: Ebertstrasse 2. 4th floor, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Time/Date: 18.00 - 20.00, Thursday 21st September.

How do I stay in the loop? | Shoot us an email at to be added to our mailing list.

Try before you buy | Read a write-up of our past Democracy Drinks events.

Knowledge Hub

We’ll be adding new courses to our e-learning platform knowledge hub.

Liberties’ knowledge hub offers free, easy-to-follow online courses that will help make your advocacy work and campaigns more impactful. Sign up here.

Watchdogging in September

Online Civic space: Keep your eyes peeled for a new Online Civic Space report due to be published by Liberties next month

AI Act: We’ll be proofing the AI Act to see if it adequately respects the rule of law. If not, we’ll make sure MEPs take a second look.

European Media Freedom Act: The EP CULT (European Parliament’s Culture & Education) Committee is expected to vote on the EMFA in September, with an EP plenary vote possibly in October 2023. Expect Liberties to weigh in.

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Take care,

Eleanor & the Liberties Team

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