PEN International releases War, Censorship, and Persecution caselist 2023

The PEN International Case List 2023/2024, has been released, highlighting challenges for writers in global conflicts and emphasizing the need to safeguard freedom of expression, especially in war-torn regions.

War, Censorship, and Persecution documents 122 cases of writers facing harassment, arrest, violence and even death worldwide. These include 26 people imprisoned, 23 detained, 22 harassed, 14 on trial, 8 killed, and 6 facing judicial harassment and death threats, among others.

The breakdown by region shows Africa with 14 cases, the Americas with 36, Asia/Pacific with 24, Europe and Central Asia with 32, and the Middle East and North Africa with 16.

“The role that writers can play in times of uncertainty, diligently curating narratives to nourish empathy, encompassing glimpses of joy and ultimately offering the gift of hope, lacks formal recognition, and this lack of acknowledgement or coherent protections can ultimately decimate expression and propel rampant self-censorship.” Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee

Read the Report

An online webinar was moderated by PEN International Board Member, Ege Dündar, and demonstrated how critical the situation for freedom of expression is in Myanmar, Palestine, Cuba, Serbia, and beyond, and the role that writers and the international community can play to address urgent concerns.

Speakers were:

  • Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee
  • Fatena Al-Ghorra, Palestinian poet
  • Tania Bruguera, Cuban artist, author, and academic
  • Marko Vidojković, Serbian writer and journalist

The webinar is now available to watch on PEN International’s YouTube channel.

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