The Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN joins the international campaign launched by International PEN.
Acting 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”, this campaign 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.
In the six months following, PEN members will continue to focus on the issue of the use of insult and defamation laws as a means of undermining freedom of expression in some countries, with a series of monthly actions focusing on different regions and aspects of this problem.
See International PEN’s report on insult and defamation laws here
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/26thdayoftheimprisonedwriterin/