An emergency fund for journalists, cartoonists, writers and artists subjected to repression in their countries is the goal of an agreement reached during the Conference of Freedom of Expression in the Arab World held in Amman earlier this month.
The fund, called Bayt Al-Kalima (House of the Word), intends to provide direct support to those subjected to financial censorship along with the establishment of a network of journalists to monitor censorship.
The network will also try to influence other newspapers to hire journalists who are fired because of their work. Funds for Bayt Al-Kalima are expected to come from the private sector. During the conference, a founding committee was established to discuss the final formation of the network. The Bayt Al-Kalima bylaws should be submitted for approval on an up-coming conference to be held in Amman in April 2006.
Members of the committee are Arab Archives Institute (Jordan), Samir Kassir Institute (Lebanon), Tunisian Press Freedoms Monitor, Arab Center for the Rule of Law (Iraq), and Lina Sinjab (Syria).