Category Archives: Uttalelse

Hong Kong: Joint statement from Global Press Associations

We strongly demand the HKPFto scrap the amendment and stop eroding Hongkongers’ rights to basic freedoms, including the freedom of the press and  information.

Global Press Associations joint-statement: The Hong Kong Police Force must scrap the unilateral revision of its definition of media representative in the police general orders to intact the freedom of press in Hong Kong.

On 22th September 2020, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) announced that it will revise the definition of media representatives in its Police General Orders. We strongly oppose the unilateral decision made by the HKPF as it is overruling the current guideline without consulting any press entities in Hong Kong and it is severely hindering the work of frontline journalists in Hong Kong by creating more ambiguity and potential conflicts with the police force at the frontline.  

Under this amendment, any unconventional or free-lanced media workers affiliated with the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association can potentially be expelled or even arrested from the media zone by HKPF as they have now applied their own ambiguous definition and validation procedure of journalists’ identities.  

By over-ruling the well-established guideline between the Press Association and the HKSAR Information Services Department,  this amendment can unfortunately only be deemed an administrative obstacle for the HKPF to limit the 4th right of media at any controversial scenes.

The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to have freedom of opinion and expression; which includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers. Article 27 of the Hong Kong Basic Law also states clearly, which protects the freedom of press in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, once a bastion of press freedom, has dropped from 18th place in 2002 to 80th place in 2020 in the RSF World Press Freedom Index. Our observation concludes that the press freedom in Hong Kong is declining at an accelerated rate since the promulgation of the National Security Law on June 30th 2020.

We strongly demand the HKPFto scrap the amendment and stop eroding Hongkongers’ rights to basic freedoms, including the freedom of the press and  information.

Co-signed by:

Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions, Sri Lanka
Federation of Nepali Journalists
Free Media Movement
International Federation of Journalists, Asia-Pasific
International Press Institute (IPI)
Journalists Association of Korea
MEAA
National Union Journalists of Peninsular Malaysia (NUJM)
National Union of Journalists (India)
Norwegian Press Association
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
PEN Norway
PFUJ (Pakistan)
Polish Association of Journalists (SDP)
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
The Norwegian Union of Journalists/ NJ
Timor Leste Press Union (TLPU)
Union of Journalists in Finland

PEN International centres condemn arrest of Belarus PEN members and employees

We condemn yesterday’s arrest of Belarus PEN members and employees during a peaceful protest in Minsk.
Protest rally against Lukashenko, 16 August. Minsk, Belarus.

Member Centres of PEN International around the world condemn the arrest yesterday of members of the Belarus PEN Centre. This heightens our concerns about the ongoing attacks on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest in the wake of the elections in Belarus on 9 August 2020 which have escalated in recent days.

On Tuesday 8 September, Belarus PEN members and employees were detained while engaging in a peaceful protest in Minsk. Those detained include secretary, poet, and translator Hanna Komar; project manager, poet, and translator Uladzimir Liankievic; and translator Siarzh Miadzvedzeu. Their arrest, and that of hundreds of others involved in peaceful protests, are a violation of their rights to freedom of expression and association. They must be freed immediately.

Background

The weeks since the election have seen the violent suppression of protests by demonstrators calling for the presidential election to be run again. According to UN human rights experts, 450 cases of torture have been documented since the beginning of the mass protests. We stand in solidarity with those peacefully protesting and with Belarusian civil society.

We have also seen a worrying crackdown on independent media in the country. Journalists attempting to cover the protests have been subject to detention, harassment and violence. Foreign journalists and Belarusian journalists writing for international outlets have been stripped of their accreditation and at least one journalist has reportedly been deported and banned from returning to Belarus for five years. Meanwhile, the authorities have blocked access to dozens of media websites and disrupted the circulation of print media.

Journalists and other writers are among the thousands to have been detained in the month since the election took place. Over the last week, at least eight Belarusian journalists were detained for participating in ‘illegal demonstrations’.

Creatives and art workers in Belarus have also taken an active part in the peaceful protests using their artistic potential for the sake of freedom of expression and have faced violence and repressions as a result.

We are also concerned by the recent charges brought against members of the Coordination Council of Belarus including the president of Belarus PEN, world-renowned writer and Nobel prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich who at present remains free. We call on the authorities to drop all charges against Alexievich and other Coordination Council members.

We believe in and fully support the right to freedom of expression consistent with the PEN Charter and the concomitant right to participate in peaceful demonstrations.

PEN International
Danish PEN
English PEN
Estonian PEN
Ethiopian PEN
Finnish PEN
French PEN
German PEN
Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann
Moscow PEN
PEN America
PEN Canada
PEN Croatia
PEN Latvia
PEN Norway
PEN Romania
PEN Turkey
PEN Ukraine
Saint Petersburg PEN
San Miguel de Allende PEN
Scottish PEN
Suisse Romand PEN Centre
Swedish PEN
Wales PEN Cymru

Uttalelse: Utenriksministeren må huske ytringsfriheten

Norsk PEN ber utenriksminister Ine Eriksen Søreide klargjøre hvilke menneskerettslige spørsmål hun vil ta opp med sin kinesiske kollega.
Utenriksminister Ine Eriksen Søreide. Foto: Torbjørn Kjosvold, Forsvaret

Delta på markering for menneskerettigheter i Kina. Oslo, 27. august klokken 17 i krysset Inkognitogata/Riddervolds gate (ved statsministerboligen). Se mer her. 

Norge tar torsdag 27. august imot Kinas utenriksminister Wang Yi. Utenriksminister Ine Eriksen Søreide oppgir til VG at Norge kommer til å ta opp menneskerettighetene som tema i møtene med den kinesiske delegasjonen. Dette er «alltid er del av den politiske samtalen med Kina», sier hun. Det hadde vært fint for den offentlige forståelsen av Norges forhold til Kina om utenriksministeren oppgir hvilke konkrete temaer hun akter å ta opp i disse møtene og hva hun håper å oppnå med dette.

Ytringsfriheten i Kina, et land som allerede rangeres som et av verdens minst frie, blir stadig dårligere. Norsk PEN er dypt bekymret for situasjonen til personer som likevel våger å ytre seg kritisk til statsmakten i Kina.

Tidligere i år ble en rekke varslere straffet eller kneblet etter at de fortalte om koronavirusutbruddet i Wuhan. Noen av dem er sporløst forsvunnet. I Hongkong, et land som tidligere var kjent for sitt blomstrende meningsmangfold, er personer som ytrer seg kritisk til den nye sikkerhetsloven blitt arrestert. I Xinjiang i nordvest-Kina er minst en million mennesker — i hovedsak muslimske uigurer — sendt til interneringsleirer. I Tibet risikerer man å bli kastet i fengsel dersom man oppbevarer er lite bilde av den religiøse lederen Dalai Lama, til tross for at ytringsfrihet og religionsfrihet er nedtegnet i den kinesiske grunnloven.

Myndighetene i Beijing viser gang på gang at de ikke ønsker å overholde sitt eget lovverk eller internasjonale traktater de har inngått. Norsk PEN håper at Ine Eriksen Søreide husker på dette når hun møter den kinesiske utenriksministeren på torsdag, ikke minst når hun diskuterer en mulig frihandelsavtale mellom våre to land.

Trine Angelskår, leder av Norsk PENs Kina-utvalg
Kjersti Løken Stavrum, leder av Norsk PEN

Opprop til støtte for ytringsfrihet og demokrati i Hviterussland

Protester etter presidentvalget i Hviterussland. 16. august 2020. Foto: Nasja Niva/Wikimedia Commons

Norske forfattere og oversettere er dypt urolige med tanke på situasjonen i Hviterussland/Belarus. Våre hviterussiske kolleger har over lengre tid hatt store utfordringer med å uttrykke seg fritt, og vi er svært bekymret over den dramatiske utviklingen etter det manipulerte valget 9. august.

Vi protesterer sterkt mot at journalister blir truet, angrepet og arrestert, at nettaviser blir blokkert og at innbyggerne ikke har fri tilgang på informasjon, og uttrykker vår fulle støtte til den hviterussiske befolkningen generelt og til våre skribentkolleger spesielt.

En samlet forfatter- og oversetterstand gir sin tilslutning til de fredelige demonstrasjonene, krever frie og rettferdige valg og fremmer betydningen av full ytringsfrihet i Hviterussland/Belarus.

Norsk Oversetterforening
Den norske Forfatterforening
Forfatterforbundet
Norske Barne- og Ungdomsbokforfattere
Dramatikerforbundet
Norsk faglitterær forfatter- og oversetterforening
Norsk PEN

Appell: Danmark må ikke utvise Adelina Kiame (aka Aaiún Nin)

Norsk PEN ber sammen med Svensk, Dansk og Islandsk PEN om at poet og forfatter Adelina Kiame ikke sendes tilbake til Angola.
Adelina Kiame, også kjent som Aaiún Nin. Foto: Instagram/Aaiún Nin.

Poeten Adelina Kiame, også kjent under kunstnernavnet Aaiún Nin, risikerer å bli kastet ut av Danmark. Kiame er fra Angola, men har bodd i Danmark over tid, og nå fått endelig avslag på søknad om asyl i Danmark.

Kiame er kjent for sine dikt som inneholder temaer som homofili, rasisme, minoritetsspørsmål, samt at hun flere ganger har ytret seg kritisk overfor angolanske myndigheter og tradisjoner i landet.

Norsk, Dansk, Svensk og Islandsk PEN er derfor bekymret for hva som vil skje forfatteren dersom hun utvises til Angola, et land der homofile stadig forfølges. Vi frykter at hun utsettes for stor fare i hjemlandet, og ber den danske utlendings- og integrasjonsministeren Mattias Tesfaye om å gripe inn.

Les hele appellen fra Norsk, Dansk, Svensk og Islandsk PEN:

Nordisk PEN-appell for Adelina Kiame_10.08.2020

Belarus: PEN calls for the immediate release of political prisoners

PEN krever umiddelbar løslatelse av politiske fanger i Hviterussland, inkludert journalist Paviel Seviaryniec. 
Journalist and politician Paviel Seviaryniec is in prison. Photo: PEN Belarus.
Søndag 7. august er det valg i Hviterussland. For første gang på mange år har det vært reelle forsøk på å utfordre makten til sittende president Aleksandr Lukashenko. Lukashenko har vært president i Hviterussland i 26 år.
Nå er 24 personer registrert som politiske fanger i Hviterussland. Flere av dem er journalister, forfattere og politikere, og er pågrepet i forbindelse med årets valg.
– Vi er dypt bekymret og kommer til å følge med på presidentvalget søndag. Utviklingen har gått fra vondt til verre i Hviterussland, og situasjonen for ytrings- og pressefrihet er nå veldig alvorlig. Vi ser et sterkt behov for at verdenssamfunnet blir gjort oppmerksom på og reagerer på dette, sier Norsk PENs generalsekretær Hege Newth.

PEN krever umiddelbar løslatelse av politiske fanger i Hviterussland, inkludert journalist Paviel Seviaryniec. Seviaryniec har blitt holdt isolert siden han ble arrestert for to måneder siden. Han har ikke fått snakke med verken advokat eller familie.

Les en uttalelse fra Norsk PEN og 25 andre PEN-sentre her:

PEN International, Belarus PEN and 24 PEN Centres are highly concerned about the systematic violations of the right to freedom of expression and other human rights that are central to democratic participation of political opponents and dissenting voices in the run-up to the presidential elections in Belarus, to take place on 9 August 2020.

“As of today, 24 individuals in Belarus have been recognised as political prisoners,” said President of the Belarusian PEN Centre Sviatlana Aleksievič (Svetlana Alexievich). “Among them are bloggers and journalists, patrons of culture – those who in 2020 awakened the Belarusian society, and for the first time in 26 years create serious competition for the authoritarian regime of Aliaksandr Lukašenka (Alexander Lukashenko). Today, Belarusian writers stand by their people as the story is being written in the streets and squares, not at desks. PEN Belarus demands that the Belarusian authorities release all the political prisoners immediately. We demand respect for free speech and other political rights and express the hope for free and fair election on 9 August in Belarus.”

Since the start of the current election campaign on 6 May until 31 July 2020, 204 political activists, journalists, bloggers and participants in peaceful assemblies have been administratively arrested and received a total of 2,937 days of detention under administrative law provisions commonly used for political persecution, in addition to many others being fined, according to the Viasna Human Rights Center and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. Almost 30 people have faced criminal charges on trumped-up accusations of economic crimes or organising mass unrest. Among them is blogger Siarhej Cichanoŭski (Syarhei Tsikhanouski), who had planned to run for president as a “protest candidate”, as well as other bloggers who supported him. According to credible reports, Cichanoŭski faces inhumane detention conditions.

Also among the political prisoners is journalist and politician Paviel Seviaryniec (Pavel Seviarynets), winner of the 2007 Aleś Adamovič Literary Award and the 2014 Francišak Aliachnovič Award. He was detained near his house after attending a pre-election picket on 7 June 2020, and is now serving several consecutive administrative detention sentences, including on charges of violating the rules pertaining to organising and holding assemblies.

“We are very concerned about the conditions in which Paviel Sieviaryniec and Siarhej Cichanoŭski are being held,” said Salil Tripathi, Chairperson of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International. “For instance, since the arrest of Paviel Sieviaryniec, he has been held in solitary confinement and has not been allowed to see his lawyer or to receive parcels from his family. We are especially alarmed by the credible reports that Seviarynieс is subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, including sleep deprivation and the denial of basic hygiene needs, adequate clothing and the opportunity to exercise. Seviarynieс must be released unconditionally and without any further delay, and the allegations of his ill-treatment must be promptly and effectively investigated.”

On 18 June, presidential challenger Viktar Babaryka, a philanthropist and former CEO of Belgazprombank, and his son Eduard Babaryka, who headed the cultural crowdsourcing and fundraising platforms Ulej and MolaMola, were also detained. Viktar has been an eminent supporter of the arts and literature in Belarus, and Eduard, through the platforms he led, has been instrumental in providing support to independent cultural projects.

The arrest of presidential challengers and their supporters gave rise to mass protests, in which people have called for an end to the 26-year rule of President Lukašenka, the release of political prisoners, and fair elections. During these protests, several journalists were beaten by members of the security forces and at least 62 journalists have been arrested merely for exercising their profession. For instance, Radio Svaboda journalist Anton Trafimovič had his nose broken during his detention on 15 July; and, a criminal case was filed on charges of organising mass unrest against Ihar Losik, administrator of Telegram channel “Belarus Halaunoha Mozhu” (Belarus of the brain) and a Radio Svaboda consultant, and who has been held in a KGB prison since 25 June.

The repression of dissenting voices is moreover not limited to high profile cases, direct political opponents and journalists, but extends to anyone who voices criticism of the government. For instance, museum guides to musicians, teachers to TV presenters and many other professionals have lost their employment after they criticised the authorities.

“It is clear that, when political opponents are jailed and impeded from standing, when journalists are arrested for reporting on protests and political events, and when ordinary citizens are punished for peacefully expressing their views, free and fair elections are impossible,” said Emmanuel Pierrat, Chairperson of the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International. “The authorities in Belarus must stop their politically motivated persecution of dissenting voices and allow for the democratic process to run its course unobstructed.”

Signed by:

PEN International
Belarus PEN
Brazil PEN
Czech PEN
Danish PEN
English PEN
Estonian PEN
Ethiopian PEN
French PEN
German PEN
Independent Chinese PEN Centre
New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc
PEN America
PEN Bangladesh
PEN Croatia
PEN Latvia
PEN Netherlands
PEN Norway
PEN Suisse Romand
PEN Turkey
PEN Ukraine
PEN Zimbabwe
Polish PEN
Romanian PEN
San Miguel de Allende PEN
Swedish PEN

Unblock Özgürüz, stop the harassment of Can Dündar

PEN Norway and 38 civil society organisations deplore decision to block Özgürüz and call for an end to the harassment of Can Dündar.
Can Dündar is the head of the radio station Özgürüz, which has been banned by Turkish authorities.

19 June 2020 – PEN Norway and 38 civil society organisations deplore the decision by a Turkish court to ban access to Germany-based online radio station Özgürüz (‘We Are Free’), which is headed by Can Dündar. We call on the Turkish authorities to reverse the decision, to stop the harassment of Dündar and to reform the country’s laws and judicial practice so that internet freedom can be guaranteed.

On 16 June, the Ankara 4th Criminal Court of the Peace banned access to the station and its website ozguruz20.org at the request of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu, RTÜK), which apparently argued that the station was streaming radio illegally and reporting and streaming content against Turkey. RTÜK in an unofficial statement calls Dündar a ‘fugitive FETÖ suspect’ and refers to his trial over disclosing state documents and information and obtaining secret information for the purpose of espionage, although the latter charge was dismissed.

Dündar, a former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, said in response: ‘The Government, especially in the recent period, has taken control of information sources like the Turkish Statistical Institute and a huge portion of the news media; however it could not oversee media organisations like Özgürüz Radyo streaming freely from exile.’ He also announced that the radio will continue to broadcast on ozguruz21.org.

Internet freedom in Turkey is under sustained attack from the government and the routine unlawful blocking of websites, where this is not strictly necessary and proportionate to a legitimate objective, encroaches on the already limited space for independent media and dissenting voices.

Dündar has been the victim of judicial harassment by the Turkish authorities since 2015, with several criminal procedures on-going. He was detained between 26 November 2015 and 26 February 2016, and has been living in exile in Germany since December 2016. Özgürüz has been repeatedly blocked by the Turkish authorities in the past, including in January 2017, before it had started publishing news.

Signed:
PEN International
Albanian PEN
ARTICLE 19
Articolo 21
Association of European Journalists English PEN
Estonian PEN
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) Freedom House
German PEN
Hungarian PEN
Independent Chinese PEN Centre
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) International Press Institute (IPI)
Irish PEN / Freedom to Write Campaign
Japan PEN Club
Latvia PEN
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) PEN Canada
PEN Centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina
PEN Eritrea
PEN Lebanon
PEN Melbourne
PEN Norway
PEN Québec
PEN Suisse Romand
PEN Turkey
PEN Uganda
PEN Venezuela
PEN Vietnam
Romanian PEN
San Miguel PEN
Scottish PEN
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) Swedish PEN
Swiss-German PEN
Trieste PEN
Wales PEN Cymru

Gratulerer med viktig talerstol! Norsk PEN forventer at Norge blir en klar stemme for ytringsfriheten

Norsk PEN gratulerer Norge med plassen i FNs sikkerhetsråd. Dette er en unik mulighet til å videreføre Norges arbeid for ytringsfrihet og pressefrihet.
Norsk PEN gratulerer Norge med plass i FNs sikkerhetsråd, og minner om ansvaret med å fremme ytringsfrihet fra en viktig talerstol. Foto: UN Photo/Evan Schneider / UD

Ytringsfriheten og retten til fri og sikker informasjon er under stadig press i verden. Norge ligger for fjerde år på toppen av Reportere Uten Grensers Pressefrihetsindeks, det er en posisjon som forplikter utover våre egne grenser. Plassen i sikkerhetsrådet må brukes til å fremme ytrings- og pressefriheten.

Utenriksdepartementet uttalte i forbindelse med sikkerhetsrådskampanjen at «Norges forsvar for menneskerettighetene er helt sentralt i vår utenrikspolitikk. Slik har det alltid vært, og slik vil det fortsette å være.» Vi forventer at Norge følger opp, og fremmer grunnleggende menneskerettigheter i sikkerhetsrådet. Også i møte med stormakter som Kina, Russland og nyinnvalgte India.

Norsk PEN har store forventninger til Norges bidrag med å jobbe for en forståelse for betydningen av pressefrihet og ytringsfrihet i verden, og at Norge blir en tydelig stemme for demokrati, menneskeverd og frihet.

Norsk PEN imøteser resultatene av Norges menneskerettighetsarbeid i Sikkerhetsrådet. Vi vil følge arbeidet tett.

Maria Ressa dømt til seks års fengsel for ærekrenkelser

Skjermdump fra Rapplers video fra pressekonferansen til Maria Ressa og Rey Santos Jr

Den filippinske journalisten Maria Ressa ble i dag dømt til seks års fengsel for å ha ærekrenket en forretningsmann i en artikkel som ble publisert på nyhetsstedet Rappler i 2012.

“If we can’t do our jobs, your rights will be lost”, sa Maria Ressa på en pressekonferanse etter at dommen hadde falt.

– Maria Ressa er først og fremst en drivende dyktig journalist. Hun gjør en viktig jobb for folk på Filippinene og er et forbilde på så mange områder. Vi håper hun holder motet oppe og ikke lar seg kneble. Vi oppfordrer alle til å følge med henne og passe på! sier Kjersti Løken Stavrum, styreleder i Norsk PEN.

Maria Ressa har rapportert om korrupsjon og overgrep, deriblant henrettelsen av tusenvis av filippinere i president Dutertes krig mot narkotika. Ressa driver nyhetsstedet Rappler, som har vært kritisk til landets regjering og president i en lang rekke artikler..

Ressa ble dømt sammen med sin kollega Reynaldo Santos Jr. Begge slapp ut med kausjon, men risikerer seks års fengsel. Dommen ble anket på stedet.

New security law threatens Hong Kong’s freedom of speech, warns PEN in Scandinavia

11 June 2020

China’s Legislative Assembly, the National People’s Congress, approved on May 28 the plan to pass a security law for Hong Kong. The decision has generated strong reactions, not least from Hong Kong’s own population. The British response has been particularly strong. Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997. China and the United Kingdom agreed that Hong Kong should gain self-governing status in the Chinese People’s Republic, and that Hong Kong should retain its economic and political system for 50 years after the transfer – that is, until 2047.

The policy was called “One country – two systems”.

With the new Security Act, the Chinese authorities are breaking this agreement. This is the reason for the unrest that has haunted the region in recent years. Citizens were assured that they would be allowed to keep their freedoms, but instead they felt that China was constantly intervening in governance and gradually narrowing their freedom of expression. Writers, artists, journalists and academics now feel unsafe. In 2016, several bookstores were abducted by Chinese security agents, the Swedish-Chinese bookseller and publisher Gui Minhai are still incarcerated in China, he was sentenced to ten years in prison in February this year. Hong Kong’s large academic environment is also met by Chinese demands to show “responsibility” and to act “patriotic”.

The new legislation will prevent “separatism”, “rioting”, “terrorism”, “treason” and “foreign interference”. In addition, China is allowed to set up its own security agencies in Hong Kong. With the help of new technology, the management in Beijing will be able to monitor each individual inhabitant of the former crown colony.

Norwegian PEN, Swedish PEN and Danish PEN are deeply concerned about developments in Hong Kong and the consequences of the new law. We stand in solidarity with everyone working for freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

In addition to the United Kingdom, the EU and a large number of other countries, such as the United States, Canada and Australia, have clearly distanced themselves from China’s attempts to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Norwegian, Swedish and Danish PEN encourages the governments of the three countries to present a joint condemnation of the new legislation created to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and stifle Hong Kong’s freedom of expression.

Kjersti Løken Stavrum, President Norwegian PEN
Per Øhrgaard, President Danish PEN
Jesper Bengtsson, President Swedish PEN