China: Freedom of expression continuing its downward plunge

Freedom of expression in China remains in a parlous state, PEN International said as China appeared before the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights record.

Dozens of writers, journalists and bloggers remain in prison simply for peacefully expressing their views, many serving harsh prison sentences, the organization said.



South Africa's chains of the mind

Since 1989 violence in South Africa has almost constantly increased to a level where the country today resembles a war zone. In fact, civilian casualty rates in South Africa are higher than in Afghanistan and many other countries officially at war.


PEN Day Of The Imprisoned Writer: Jailed Voices That Must Not Be Silenced

"When your heart trembles for the rights of another human, that is when you begin to slip, that is when the interrogations begin.... When you find faith in people and believe in humanity and nothing else, that is when you commit your first crime."

Jailed Iranian journalist, activist, and blogger Shiva Nazar Ahari, 28, wrote these words in a letter to a fellow prisoner. In September, Ahari began serving a four-year prison sentence on charges of "waging war against God" for her involvement in the 2009 protests against President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's reelection.


PEN International marks the 31st Annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer

On 15th November 2012, PEN International, the worldwide association of writers, marks the 31st Annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer, an international day to recognise and support writers at risk. Each year, for the past 31 years, PEN Centres around the globe have commemorated the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, to raise awareness of the unjust imprisonment and persecution of writers around the world.


Director of PEN International Speaks at UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Protection of Journalists

PEN International’s Executive Director, Laura McVeigh, spoke this morning to the UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity in Vienna. The meeting will define a concrete strategy for the implementation of the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists. PEN will be an active partner in the roll out of theAction Plan.


Turkish President Tells PEN International Free Speech Violations Cast Shadow Over Turkey’s Progress

ANKARA 13 NOVEMBER, 2012: In a meeting today with a delegation from PEN International, President Abdullah Gül expressed his personal commitment to free speech. Responding to PEN’s concerns over a rising number of writers, journalists and publishers in prison or on trial in Turkey, the president assured the delegation that he has been following the cases closely.



To mark the International Day to End Impunity,, 23 November 2012, PEN International launches its Write Against Impunity anthology (click on image above to view), a literary protest highlighting the escalating violence against journalists, writers and bloggers in Latin America, and the impunity enjoyed by those who seek to silence them. We asked writers, journalists and students from across Latin America and the Caribbean to send us poetry and prose commemorating their murdered colleagues and protesting impunity.


PEN Haiti to host major international literary festival focusing on freedom of expression and literature in times of crisis.

- Festival to mark the anniversary of murdered Haitian writer and activist Jacques Stephen Alexis

- Haiti Free the Word! comes just over two years since PEN Haiti ’s founder, Georges Anglade, was killed in the devastating earthquake which struck the country in January 2010.

- Will include contributions from Jean-Euphèle Milcé, Roger Bnnair-Agard, Georges Castera, Emmelie Prophète and Evelyne Trouilot.

- The festival will also celebrate and promote literature in the local community by engaging school children and students at the events.


About World Press Freedom Day

Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

3 May was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991.