Russia: New laws threaten freedom of expression and media freedom

01 April 2019 – With the adoption of two new laws criminalising ´insult´ to the state and the dissemination of ´fake news´, as well as plans to increase government control of the Internet, the Russian authorities are imposing further, excessive restrictions on freedom of expression and undermining media freedom, PEN International, PEN Moscow and St Petersburg PEN said today. On 18 March 2019, President Vladimir Putin signed into law two controversial bills after they were approved earlier in the month by the State Duma […]

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In memory of Judith Rodríguez (1936-2018)

PEN International is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, colleague and fearless defender of free expression, Judith Rodríguez. PEN International President, Jennifer Clement, said: ‘The news of Judith’s death is not just heartbreaking for PEN and its members, but also for me personally. I have lost a dear friend and confidant. Judith dedicated her life to the promotion of literature, and the defence of the voiceless. While we mourn this monumental loss, her legacy will continue through her extraordinary poetry and through PEN’s work […]

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Uganda must release academic Stella Nyanzi and drop all charges against her

Stella Nyanzi 2 November 2018 – PEN International and PEN Uganda are deeply concerned by the recent arrest and ongoing trial of the prominent Ugandan academic, writer and activist, Dr. Stella Nyanzi. Nyanzi was arrested on 2 November 2018 and charged with “cyber harassment” and “offensive communication” following messages she allegedly posted on Facebook about President Yoweri Museveni’s mother. Following a trial hearing on 9 November, Nyanzi was remanded in custody until the next hearing (22 November); she faces up to one year in jail […]

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Oral Statement on Eritrea to the African Commission, October 2018

Idris Said Aba Arre, one of the 12 journalists detained during September and October 2001 Presented to the African Commission by Musa Sheriff on behalf of PEN International Madam Chairperson, honourable Commissioners, all protocols observed, PEN International would like to welcome the positive developments in Eritrea’s relations with Ethiopia. We hope that the Eritrean authorities will embrace the potential for change inherent in the recent peace deal and the opening of the border and take meaningful steps to improve the situation for freedom of expression […]

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Open letter to Google on reported plans to launch a censored search engine in China

To: Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer, Google Inc cc: Ben Gomes, Vice President of Search; Kent Walker, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs Dear Mr Pichai, Like many of Google’s own employees, we are extremely concerned by reports that Google is developing a new censored search engine app for the Chinese market. The project, codenamed “Dragonfly”, would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights. The Chinese government extensively violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy; by accommodating the Chinese authorities’ […]

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Bangladesh Must Release Writer & Photographer Shahidul Alam

 Writer, photographer and activist Shahidul Alam The arrest of award-winning writer, photographer and activist, Shahidul Alam, on 5 August 2018 shines a light on the dangerous escalation of the government’s crackdown on dissenting voices, said PEN International today as it called for his immediate and unconditional release. Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee stated: “The Bangladeshi authorities must release Shahidul Alam immediately, institute an inquiry into why the officials responsible for action destroyed property and threatened others, establish new norms […]

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PEN Turkey: An Invitation to Children to Create Paintings Related to Peace

1 February 2018   Dear PEN Int’l, Writers for Peace Committee, and sister PEN Centres, Despite all odds, all PEN members insist on wishing -and working for-  a year of justice and peace, free of hatred and violence. We take the liberty of initiating a joint project that will invite children to create paintings related to peace. Last year the Nazım Hikmet Foundation and PEN Turkey joined forces for this project. We are happy to invite all PEN Centres to encourage the children to whom […]

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