Increasing Public Support

Change does not come through legal reform alone. The protection and promotion of civic space depend on broad-based public support.

The Civic Space Initiative is raising public awareness of the value of civil society through film, online platforms, and other innovative tools. Our goal is to encourage the growth of a broad and diverse base of supporters engaged in civil society and protective of civic space.

Freedom Music Festival in Malaysia in 2017 (photo credit: Pusat KOMAS)
Freedom Music Festival in Malaysia in 2017 (photo credit: Pusat KOMAS)

Recent Highlights

The Global SPEAK! Campaign

In 2017, CIVICUS kicked off the SPEAK! campaign, in which four days of action around the world galvanized support for democracy and human rights. The inaugural campaign featured 232 events in 65 countries with more than 46,000 attendees and an online reach of more than 7.5 million people.

Support for Human Rights Defenders in Detention

CIVICUS recently launched the “Stand As My Witness” campaign. Through the campaign, CIVICUS worked with civil society in Kazakhstan to advocate for the release of civic and environmental rights defender Asya Tulesova who was detained and facing up to three years in jail for participating in peaceful protests. She was released on August 12, 2020. Civil society groups in Zimbabwe also engaged with the campaign and exerted pressure on the government to release journalist Hope Chin’ono. Awareness about #StandAsMyWitness increased globally due to widespread media coverage.

Films Focusing on Civic Space

The World Movement of Democracy produced three short videos and one longer film to raise awareness of the value of civil society. Each work focused on an individual civic activist to demonstrate the power of individuals working through civil society organizations.