Mozilla, Creative Commons, Wikimedia Foundation announce Bassel Khartabil Free Culture fellowship following execution of open culture activist
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Monday, August 14, 2017
On Friday, several free knowledge, culture and open source oriented organisations — Creative Commons, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation, amongst others — collectively announced a three-year commitment for a free-culture fellowship to honour 's continuing influence on the open web, during the Wikimedia's annual conference Wikimania in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Palestinian-Syrian Khartabil was held in captivity under the Syrian government starting in 2012 and went silent in prison in 2015. Early this month his wife confirmed Khartabil had been executed in 2015.
Khartabil worked as a computer engineer and contributed to Mozilla and Wikipedia. A supporter of free access to knowledge and culture, Khartabil co-founded Syria's first hackerspace, Aiki Lab, and led Creative Commons' Syrian project.
The fellowship to honour Khartabil aims to promote free culture in various forms, including art, music, software, and community. On their official blog, Creative Commons said they would encourage applications from the, Middle East, and North Africa.
US$50 thousand over the course of ten months. The fellowship is to be awarded on a one-year basis, which could be renewed. Additionally, the organisations are to provide up to US$3000 for the candidates to purchase equipment and software.is to act as a supporting partner and the fellows would receive a stipend of
Promoting candidates from "closed societies" from the countries with a history of oppression of freedom of expression and access to free knowledge, the fellowship laid three requirements for the eligibility. The applicants must have a history of contribution to the open source/access or free culture communities, and propose in their application an initiative promoting free culture values, and in which the fellowship would be their primary work focus. The fellowship applications are to be accepted from February, and the fellowship is to be awarded in April.
Apart from contributing to Mozilla and, Bassel Khartabil developed "Aiki", an open source framework which is currently used by and . He was listed among Top Global Thinkers by , and given a Digital Freedom Award by the .
Khartabil was arrested by the Syrian military in March 2012. Following time in a Syrian General Intelligence Directorate facility, nine months after his arrest he was transferred to Facebook post., and permitted family visits. He was relocated to an undisclosed facility in October 2015, and executed soon after. His wife, Noura Ghazi Safadi, confirmed Khartabil's death on August 1 via a
- "Wikimedians and free knowledge leaders convene in Montreal for 13th annual Wikimania" — , August 11, 2017
- Ryan Merkley, Katherine Maher and Mark Surman. "Honoring Our Friend Bassel: Announcing the Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship" — , August 11, 2017
- "Bassel Khartabil: Syrian internet freedom activist 'executed'" — , August 2, 2017
- Katherine Maher. "Wikimedia Foundation mourns the loss of Bassel Khartabil, Syrian Wikimedian and global open culture advocate" — , August 3, 2017