In the lounge with the Freedom of Expression Team

By Royze Adolfo 

As the summer moves forward, we hope to highlight each Berktern group’s work, team dynamic, and other exciting things about them. To kick it off, today, we are chatting in the lounge with Cale, Malavika, Marianna, and Melody from the Freedom of Expression (FOE) team.

From left to right: Malavika, Melody, Marianna, and Cale

When they’re not munching on pretzels or candies from the shared Berkman jar of treats, the team works hard to search for where censorship takes place around the globe. Day to day, the four are glued to their screens while blogging, tweeting, updating newsreels, scouring the web for censorship news related to their assigned countries, updating the ONI and Herdict Twitter websites, and researching chilling effects. Right now, Melody is reporting on Columbia and Guatemala; Malavika is focusing on Ethiopia and Kenya; Cale is looking closely at Tanzania and Nigeria; and, Marianna is narrowing in on Peru and Mexico.


Royze: What do you enjoy most about working with the FOE team?

Cale: I work with a great group of co-interns and I also enjoy the fact that I am able to stay current with the news. I am much more abreast of events relating to internet censorship than I have ever been in my entire life.

Malavika: My co-interns, for sure. We are also working on stuff that’s current. When I was updating my country profile on Ethiopia, I was so surprised with all the news I was finding and all that I am able to contribute. If you’re really interested in censorship issues, it’s cool to do this work and have this connection.

Melody: Every single day there’s something new that happens. Everyday, there’s always something really impressive to find.

Marianna: Researching censorship regimes has kept me abreast of a broad range of social movements and civil liberties efforts around the world, issues I’d never have learned about otherwise.

Royze: What is the most challenging aspect about working with the FOE team?
Cale: Honing in writing style for blog posts.

Malavika: We’re all involved in a number of projects, so juggling it all is challenging. But as a small team, we work really well together. No one is really assigned any tasks which works because we have a generally nurturing collaborative environment.

Melody: I agree with what they both say. I’d say that synthesizing information for an informative blog post is a bit challenging, but we’re learning along the way.

Marianna: It’s only my second day, but already it seems that we move at a pretty fast pace, pulling together resources to not only summarize but also analyze and create content.

Royze: What do you love about working with your fellow interns?

Malavika: I think that in an event of a zombie attack, these are the people I would want by my side.

Cale: These are great people to see a movie with…no, really, it’s nice to be in a tight-knit group of people who share my love for pretzels.

Melody: It’s nice to be able to be comfortable with my team in such a short span of time. Within a week we were all really awesome. They’re also really fun people to eat out with.

Marianna: I love nothing about it… but only because I’m new and haven’t yet dived into working with the team! The FOE interns are lovely and welcoming, and I’d be hard pressed to think of other people with whom I’d like to spend all my waking hours this summer.

Royze: On a random note, what’s your favorite blog?

Cale: The Awl

Malavika: The only blogs I read are cooking blogs and Eat. Blog. Run (

Melody: Hyperbole and a Half (

Marianna: I enjoy And if it counts as a blog, whatshouldwecallme (

Melody and Marianna on a Tuesday afternoon

To learn more about this team’s work, read their contributions on the OpenNet Initiative and the Herdict blogs!

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