Fengslede Forfatteres Dag 2006

Det internasjonale tema for Fengslede Forfatteres Dag 2006, er «defamation laws» eller injurielovgivning.  I mange land vi ikke liker å sammenligne oss med gir slik lovgivning myndighetene anledning til å fengsle skribenter som kommer med «upopulære» uttalelser, eller er i opposisjon til myndighetene.   Over en fjerdedel av alle registrerte tilfeller av forfulgte og/eller fengslede forfattere hos International PEN i London, har sin bakgrunn i denne typen lovgivning.  International PENs Writers in Prison Committee har derfor gjort dette til tema for en omfattende internasjonal kampanje som lanseres 15. november.

Nedenfor kan du lese mer om kampanjen og årets markering i en oppsummering fra International PEN.  Du kan også klikke på navnene i menyen til venstre og lese utfyllende informasjon på engelsk om de enkelte skribentene.

15 NOVEMBER 2006


«Criminal defamation laws and laws proscribing ‘insult’ are providing heavy-duty ammunition to governments wishing to deny citizens their right to freedom of expression.  Today over a quarter of all PEN’s cases of imprisoned and prosecuted writers around the world have been charged under such repressive legislation.  We urgently call for an end to this pernicious form of censorship.»

– Harold Pinter,
Nobel Laureate & Vice-President of English PEN

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is marking the 26th Writers in Prison Day 2006 (November 15) with a campaign in defence of nearly a hundred writers and journalists around the world who are in prison or facing custodial sentences for alleged defamation or «insult».   It calls for the repeal of laws that treat defamation as a criminal, rather than a civil, offence, and argues that the term «insult» is too vague to have any legal standing as a charge and should thus be scrapped from penal codes entirely.

In order to demonstrate how such laws are being employed to curtail freedom of expression, the Writers in Prison Committee highlights five cases of writers currently in prison or being prosecuted in China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico and Turkey and calls for the charges against these five, and all writers similarly threatened, to be quashed.  On 15 November, and the days surrounding, PEN members will be sending letters, raising publicity and staging events in support of these and their other colleagues under attacks in other points of the globe. The five focus cases on 15 November will be:

Turkey – Hrant Dink:  editor of an Armenian language newspaper sentenced to a six month suspended term and two other cases still pending on charges of insult
Ethiopia – Wesenseged Gebrekidan: journalist serving a total of two years in prison on defamation charges, and facing further trials.
Mexico – Lydia Cacho: writer on trial for defamation and under attack for her book on child pornography and prostitution
China – Yang Xiaoqing: internet journalist serving a one year sentence on extortion charges that are believed to be in retaliation for posting ‘defamatory’ articles on local corruption
Egypt – two journalists: each sentenced to one year in prison for articles “insulting” the Egyptian President.

In the six months following, PEN members will continue to focus on the issue of the use of insult and defamation laws in some countries as a means of undermining freedom of expression with a series of monthly actions focusing on different regions and aspects of this problem.

PEN Centres and members wishing to join the action on 15 November as well as the six-month campaign against insult and defamation laws should contact the International PEN headquarters below. Similarly any individual who is not a PEN member but who is interested in knowing more can refer to our web-site for updates and contact details for their local PEN Centre.