PEN International’s Policy Officer, Sarah Clarke promoted PEN’s Declaration on Digital Freedom with policymakers and activists at the OSCE Internet2013 Conference on February 14 and 15.
PEN International’s representative met with freedom of expression activists from across the region, including Azerbaijani blogger and activist Emin Milli. Emin was recently arrested for participating in a peaceful protest and was the subject of a PEN RAN on 5 February.
While in Vienna, Emin Milli also met with Austrian PEN. You can read about his visit here. Austrian PEN’s Jürgen Strasser also met with PEN International’s Sarah Clarke.
PEN International’s Declaration on Digital Freedom is a response to its concerns that poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists, writers, bloggers and journalists have suffered violations to their right of freedom of expression for using digital media.
PEN recognises that digital media has vastly expanded the capability of individuals, groups and whole societies to express themselves both privately and publicly, to associate freely, to exchange literature, ideas and information. Whilst digital media has expanded the ability of individuals to share in such a way, it has also increased the number of individuals who are vulnerable to persecution for their writing.
Key debates took place between policy makers and activists on issues pertaining to PEN’s Declaration on Digital Freedom. These included Blocking and filtering practices; Social media, social activity and media freedom; Hateful speech – ban, tolerate or challenge?; Freedom of expression – rights and responsibilities and Multi-stakeholder approaches to Internet Governance.
PEN International has a long history of promoting literature, freedom of expression and human rights and this declaration recognises digital media as a tool of advancing and fulfilling the fundamental right of freedom of expression which is at the heart of PEN International and the work of all its members around the world.