The Pan-African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF)

The Pan-African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) stands as an advocate for artistic expression in the creative sector, working towards safe and enabling environments for artistic creativity. Founded by Selam, a non-profit cultural organization established in 1997, PANAF operates on a Pan-African scale, with headquarters in Sweden and offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Nairobi, Kenya. Selam collaborates internationally, engaging with artists, cultural producers, the private sector, media, institutions, and authorities across Africa, participating in global culture networks and conferences.

PANAF proactively commissions experts to assess freedom of creative expression. These experts examine factors that either allow or restrict artistic expression for artists and cultural professionals.

Actively advocating for policies that protect artistic creations or creativity as a form of free expression. PANAF conducts a range of activities, including seminars, workshops, performances, and training sessions on national and regional levels. These initiatives aim to build the capacity of artists and include collaborations with industry events, promoting their cause, facilitating networking, and ensuring long-term success.

PANAF engages in the vital task of documenting and monitoring violations of artistic freedom. Utilizing evidence-based advocacy, the organization works towards improving the protection of all creatives in regional and targeted countries.


PANAF aims to create improved conditions for artists, fostering a work environment free from threats or harassment. 


  • Providing increased opportunities for artists unable to work in their communities to access safe havens.
  • Advocating for legislation supporting artists’ freedom to create, display, and distribute work without censorship.
  • Enhancing international networking, fostering a shared understanding of improving conditions for artists.
  • Strengthening the capacity of relevant actors to empower women artistically.


PANAF envisions a creative sector where culture workers freely exchange ideas without fear of discrimination or persecution.


The mission is to build the capacity of individual artists and culture groups, breaking isolation by connecting them with other culture actors and civil society organizations. PANAF aims to use international, regional, and national human rights frameworks to advocate for legal reforms and mechanisms protecting artistic freedom.

Supported by:

Selam and Swedish art council

Regional Reach:
Throughout its implementation, CLtW has covered two city administrations and seven regional states, including Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, Southern Nations and Nationality, Sidama (added later), Afar, Harari, Somali, and Gambela. Notably, CLtW has also achieved significant results at the national level.

Donor and Partnerships:
The CLtW project receives support from Sida, and its stakeholders and partners include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Labor and Skill, regional culture and tourism bureaus, higher education institutions, civil society organizations, special interest groups, commercial cultural entities, and private sector cultural actors.

Result Chain for Change:
CLtW endeavours to bring about anticipated change through interventions in three main areas: capacity building, production, and distribution. It assumes constant conditions and cooperation with partners and stakeholders, aiming to realise the project’s objectives within the allocated budget and timeframe.

Achieved Results:
CLtW has directly impacted approximately 500 young women and men, engaging around 100 activists in its first year. Through project groups, it indirectly reaches a broader group of around 1,500 young people in various ways, ultimately reaching a total of 2,000 young rights holders. The production initiatives of these project groups are expected to have a broad outreach, generating interest among local populations through innovative, locally driven projects. Furthermore, local radio stations, TV, press, and social media are anticipated to expand the project’s reach.

A conservative estimate suggests that 5-7 short-term projects will commence annually. Over the course of three years, this is expected to result in 25-30 productions. These productions vary in audience size, ranging from smaller artistic shows, poetry readings, exhibitions, talks, and seminars to larger-scale radio shows, spots, YouTube videos, recordings, social media campaigns, tours, and festivals. Together with public events organised by Selam and partner organisations, the project is poised to impact over 150,000 young and adult citizens with messages of social and human rights woven into its productions and events.

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