The Freedom to Write Index, PEN America’s first annual global count of writers and public intellectuals unjustly detained or imprisoned worldwide.
Covering Jan – Dec 2019, the inaugural Freedom to Write Index shows that at least 238 writers and public intellectuals were imprisoned or held in detention in 2019, facing often brutal treatment and baseless charges. Nearly 60 percent are being held by just three countries: China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
For more than a century, the global PEN network has defended the freedom to write and advocated on behalf of those writers who face reprisals or are at risk as a result of their expression. By highlighting the threats experienced by a broad range of writers, PEN America’s Freedom to Write Index, which draws on sources including the extensive casework of PEN International, complements existing datasets that focus on journalists or scholars, helping paint a more holistic picture of attacks on freedom of expression globally, and shining a light on the impact when individual creative voices are silenced.
Read the Index report here, and click here to check out coverage of the report in The Washington Post.