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cover1Stifling Dissent, Impeding Accountability – Criminal Defamation Laws in Africa

In many countries in Africa, governments continue to stifle freedom of expression, open debate, political criticism and media reporting using laws that make it a crime to say, write or publish anything that they consider defamatory or insulting. These laws are usually vague and sweepingly broad, opening them to such wide interpretation that
they act as an ever-present constraint, particularly on investigative journalism and other aspects of the media’s
capacity to perform its public watchdog role.

This report focuses on the continued retention of these laws in four African countries – Uganda, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Zambia – and assesses the impact of their repeal, over 16 years ago, in Ghana.

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Surveillance secrecy and self censorship Turkey Report

Surveillance, Secrecy and Self-Censorship: New Digital Freedom Challenges in Turkey

In Turkey the internet is seen as a place where things can be done independently, and they want to take the internet under control because they fear that.’ – Journalist Yasemin Çongar.

Freedom of expression in the digital sphere has deteriorated dramatically in Turkey since the Gezi Park protests in March 2013 when peaceful demonstrations organised through social media were harshly repressed, according to a new report released today by PEN International and PEN Norway. The report is the third in a wide-ranging series monitoring and assessing such violations in the country since 2012.

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imposing silenceWriters and human rights experts call on India to repeal laws that threaten free expression in world’s largest democracy 
Earlier this year, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs used an extensive arsenal of vague and overbroad laws to muzzle the world’s largest environmental watchdog, Greenpeace International.  Using seemingly innocuous provisions in the Indian Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010, the government effectively silenced criticism of a controversial nuclear power plant by freezing the bank account of Greenpeace India.  Officials justified their actions on the basis that Greenpeace was a “threat to national economic security.”

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Click here to read the executive summary
gezi report 1The Gezi Park Protests: the impact on freedom of expression in Turkey
March 14 2014 – In The Gezi Park Protests: the impact on freedom of expression in Turkey, PEN assesses the violations of the right to freedom of expression and to freedom of assembly during last year’s protests, detailing numerous examples of intimidation, judicial harassment and violence against writers and journalists by the authorities in Turkey, and shedding light on the mechanisms by which the mainstream media in Turkey is pushed towards self-censorship.

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Click here to read the executive summary


Honduras report - engish coverHonduras: Journalism in the Shadow of Impunity
January 22 2014 – Journalists who cover organized crime, government corruption and other sensitive issues are increasingly facing threats and lethal attacks in Honduras, with almost complete impunity for perpetrators, said PEN International in a new report released today in partnership with PEN Canada and the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

The report – Honduras: Journalism in the Shadow of Impunity – documents the rise in violence against journalists following the coup d’état that ousted President José Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, and the failure of both state and international mechanisms to investigate and punish those responsible. Since June 2009 at least 32 Honduran journalists – most working for the broadcast media – have been killed and many more continue to work in a climate of fear and self-censorship.

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Click here to read the executive summary
Click here to view the report in Spanish


China creative freedomThe PEN Report: Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China
May 3 2013 – On World Press Freedom Day, PEN International launched The PEN Report: Creativity and Constraint in Today’s China. The culmination of five years of collaborative research among PEN members inside and outside of China, the report is a frank assessment of the climate of freedom of expression in the world’s most populous state. It also provides first-hand accounts of life under the weight of Chinese censorship through personal essays by 10 of China’s leading dissident writers.

Click here to read the full report