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UPDATE 1: To see what PEN centres and members of the public did for the Day of the Dead campaign, please read our report.The Day of the Dead Campaign 2011 final report

UPDATE 2: Please see Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansh PEN’s work as part of our campaign. This centre collaborated with PEN Suisse Romand and Swiss German PEN and placed three very effective obituaries in the press on 2 November. One of their members wrote an article about the Day of the Dead for the newspaper laRegioneTicino.
Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansh PEN article
Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansh PEN obituary1
Swiss Italian and Reto-Romansh PEN obituary2

Many of you will already have heard about PEN International’s upcoming Day of the Dead 2011 campaign on Mexico, which was presented at Congress in Belgrade last month. This campaign aims to focus public attention on the appalling violence and impunity affecting journalists and writers in Mexico and to mobilize pressure on the Mexican authorities to bring an end to it. On 2 November 2011, we hope that PEN members and writers worldwide will commemorate their fallen Mexican colleagues with traditional Day of the Dead activities such as special altars, as well as with public readings, editorials, interviews and talks, etc.

Eliseo Barrón Hernández (c) Reuters

La Opinión reporter Eliseo Barrón Hernández, murdered on 25 May 2009 (c) Reuters

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world in which to practise journalism.In the last five years, 35 journalists have been murdered and eight have gone missing. This year alone, nine journalists have been killed, four of whom were women. Most of the dead, such as La Opinión reporter Eliseo Barrón Hernández (see photo), murdered on 25 May 2009, were involved in investigating corruption or reporting on organised crime, and were likely targeted because of their work. The vast majority of these killings and disappearances have not been properly investigated or punished, creating a climate of impunity and fear.

We very much hope that your Centre will take part in this important campaign. So that you can plan your activities for 2 November, we have provided supporting materials which can be downloaded from this page using the links below and to the right.

Please download the following:

*A note on the campaign logo: The image chosen to symbolize PEN International’s Day of the Dead 2011 campaign in the campaign logo and poster is a slightly modified figure from one of numerous illustrations by José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913). Posada was a popular Mexican illustrator whose best-known images used motifs of death in striking and often satirical ways. He introduced the use of skeletons and skulls in satirical comments, especially around the occasion of the Day of the Dead, developing the Mexican tradition of using death to comment on life. His influence on Mexican art has been decisive and his images are an enduring part of Mexican culture. The illustration used in PEN’s campaign logo and poster was drawn by Maxine Young.

Many thanks to all those involved in the design of this campaign, in particular Jens Lohmann of Danish PEN and Tony Cohan of San Miguel de Allende PEN, the illustrator Maxine Young and various translators, all of whom have generously donated their time and know-how.

For details of how PEN Centres around the world are doing to mark the Day of the Dead, see Centre News. Please let us know if and when your Centre will be taking part in this campaign, either on or before 2 November, or even later in November. See press releases for Day of the Dead in the Press Centre.