A dark weekend for freedom of speech

A Statement From The Nordic PEN Centres Regarding The Attacks in Copenhagen
The attack on the Saturday meeting in Copenhagen, where people came together to discuss freedom of expression in the face of blasphemy, and the subsequent shooting at the city´s synagogue, is a chilling reminder that the open societies of the North European countries are also faced with threats against their core values: Free exchange of ideas in a secular society. These cruel attempts at suppression and the loss of life they brought with them can only be lamented and condemned in the strongest terms.

That the events take place on the 25th anniversary of Iran´s fatwa against the British-Indian author Salman Rushdie underscores that freedom of expression is universal and cross-cultural. Today censorship and violence threatens authors, visual artists and cartoonists, in far, far, to many societies. The Nordic PEN Centres will continue to fight for their rights to express themselves without persecution, both at home and abroad.

The Nordic countries have a long history of respecting freedom of expression and encouraging sharp social criticism in all media. Recently an international survey listed Denmark as one of the most free countries in the world. We will not allow the forces of intolerance to destroy that with their crude tactics.

Dansk PEN – The Danish PEN Centre
Norsk P.E.N. – The Norwegian PEN Centre
PEN á Íslandi – The Icelandic PEN Centre
Suomen PEN – The Finnish PEN Centre
Svenska P.E.N. – The Swedish PEN Centre

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Norwegian PEN condemns terrorist attack against French satirical magazine in Paris


Norwegian PEN condemns terrorist attack against Frenchsatirical magazine in Paris

Norwegian PEN condemns today’s terrorist attack against the satiricalmagazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12people are reported killed.

«This is a gross attack on freedom of expression which is the core of our democracies,» says Norwegian PENPresident William Nygaard. He adds that it is also an attack on the free press andfree journalism and it is important that the terrorist attack does not lead to self-censorship.

Asked by the daily Dagbladet whethersomething similar could happen in Norway, says Norwegian PEN Secretary General, Carl Morten Iversen: «This demonstrates that one apparently is not safe anywhere. It is extremely discouraging. I have no other information about this than what can be read in online newspapers, but this magazine has been previously attacked

So far there is no one who is detained or has assumed responsibility for the terrorist attack.«It is important now to confirm who is behind the attack and to act with prudence,» saysWilliam Nygaard and adds: «Ethnic diverse and complex societies in Europe must, in such a situation, emphasize unity, not siunity as the attackers probably want. The media will play an important role in this regard. «

Oslo 7 January 2015