International collaboration inspires future development
The database was designed as a model for:
- The continuous compilation of data on censorship and freedom of expression
- Efficient international collaboration across professional borders
The Beacon for Freedom of Expression database is hosted by the National Library of Norway in collaboration with an International Advisory Board. The body includes leadership from the Library of Alexandria, the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, the National Library of Norway, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the Ministry of Culture of Norway.
IFLA, the global voice of the library and information profession, established the Committee on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (FAIFE) in 1997. IFLA/FAIFE works to promote intellectual freedom and freedom of expression, particularly in relation to libraries.
Beacon's expert network of co-operation also includes the International Freedom of Expression eXchange Clearing House (IFEX), a global network of approximately 80 member organisations in over 50 countries. IFEX compiles news from its members, issues reports and documents censorship globally through weekly bulletins IFEX Communiqué, and a daily electronic alert service.
As a pioneer initiative the Beacon for Freedom of Expression database represents a dynamic model, intended to be developed and improved through ongoing contributions from a steadily growing network of partners.
Future priorities for the Beacon database include increasing the records of historic censorship. Another consideration is the inclusion of single articles on censorship and freedom of expression. This need has been expressed by many partners, especially in countries where book publications are at times prohibitive.
Beacon is keen to collaborate with organizations and institutions that would like to submit censorship archives and documentation from their countries for inclusion in the Beacon database but lack the funds to do so. An ongoing priority is also expanding Beacon's network to include organizations that document kinds of censorship that are absent from the Beacon database (for example music, film and visual art, as well as indirect censorship).
Developing this monument to the long struggle for freedom of expression will require time, resources and dedication. Nevertheless this is a small price to pay to commemorate countless victims of censorship and defenders of free expression.