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The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International was set up in 1960 as a result of mounting concern about attempts to silence critical voices around the world. An office was set up at the PEN head office in London to gather information and to alert the PEN membership to take action. The WiPC is now staffed by a team of experts who monitor around 1,000 attacks on writers, journalists, editors, poets, publishers and others in any given year. These include long prison terms, harassment, threats, and murder.

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International PEN Melbourne Centre ACTION TURKEY WRITE to Selahattin Demirtaş, a writer in prison   Throughout the year PEN Melbourne members and friends write to persecuted writers in prison around the world. We send our best wishes, and our hopes that they are staying well and in good spirits. We do this in the spirit of solidarity and to let them know that they are not alone and not forgotten. We try by this means to allow a light into …

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International PEN Melbourne Centre Defending persecuted writers, freedom of expression and promoting cultural understanding through literature   CHINA ACTION YANG Hengjun Yang Hengjun is an Australian novelist, blogger and political commentator who is committed to the advancement of human rights and political reform in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). A keen commentator on Chinese politics and the virtues of democratic pluralism, Yang’s writing has been regularly featured in The Diplomat and his blog posts garnered a significant following on …

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13 March, 2021 Throughout the Philippines, critical journalists are being sent a chilling message: you are only safe in silence. Make a difference. #HoldTheLine https://cpj.org/?p=45323 via @pressfreedom   24 June 2020 The Australian Centres of PEN International condemn the charges recently brought in the Philippines against Maria Ressa and reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr of the Rappler news website. This is another instance of a ruthless leader, President Duterte, acting with impunity and silencing those who challenge his power. On 15 …

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On this year’s World Poetry Day (March 21), PEN International highlights the case of four poets who risks their life, daily, through their work: Maryja Martysievič (Belarus), Katherine Bisquet (Cuba), Varavara Rao (India) and Innocent Bahati (Rwanda). PEN International calls on its members to take action so that governments fulfil their duty to guarantee freedom of expression.   Please find in attachment materials produced for this international day and campaign (action page, a piece by Jennifer Clement, social media messages for Sunday 21 …

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1 March, 2021 Arrest and imprisonment of Arash Ganji in Iran.   A court of appeal in Iran on 28 February confirmed that writer, translator and secretary of the Iranian Writers’ Association, Mr Arash Ganji will be imprisoned for 11 years. His arrest and imprisonment are imminent.   Background Arash Ganji is a well-known Iranian writer and translator, and currently serves as Secretary of the Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA). On December 22, 2019, authorities raided Mr Ganji’s apartment and confiscated …

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