Tuesday, December 15, 2009

China: Internet writers sentenced

China: Internet writers sentenced

Published: December 14, 2009

English PEN protests the fifteen and five year prison sentences handed down to Tibetan internet writers Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang in mid November 2009. English PEN considers their convictions to be a direct violation of their right to freedom of expression and opinion, under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory. We are therefore calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, aged 39, is an Internet writer and the founder and editor of the Tibetan language website Chomei http://www.tibetcm.com, which promotes Tibetan culture and literature. He also works as an environmental officer for the Chinese government. On 12 November 2009 he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for 'disclosing state secrets'. Gopey Tsang was arrested by Chinese security officials at his home in the town of Nyul-ra, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Gansu Province, on 26 February 2009. His family was not told of his whereabouts until he was summoned to court on 12 November 2009 to hear the verdict. The trial was held at the Intermediate People's Court of Kanlho, in a closed-door hearing.

Kunga Tseyang is a monk and an Internet writer from Labrang monastery, Gansu Province. He is also an environmentalist and photographer. Tseyang was sentenced to five years in prison on 17 November 2009 by a court in the Prefecture of Golok, Qinghai Province, on various charges including posting articles online. He has written extensively about Buddhism and Tibetan art and culture, including a piece entitled 'China must apologise to His Holiness the Dalai Lama' which is said to have been accessed by a large number of readers. Tseyang was twenty years old when arrested on 17 March 2009.


In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region, after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region, and were stepped up in March this year around the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Useful links:

WiPC's previous alert on Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)

BBC's country profile of Tibet

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)

Please send appeals:

- Protesting the prison sentences imposed on Tibetan Internet writers Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang;
- Calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Appeals to:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhang Qingli
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. We therefore recommend that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:

Her Excellency Fu Ying
49-51 Portland Place

Azerbaijan: Internet writers sentenced

Azerbaijan: Internet writers sentenced

Published: December 14, 2009

English PEN protests the prison sentences handed down to Internet writers and youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade. We fear their convictions are linked to the critical material about the Azeri government they posted on the Internet, and are calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Azerbaijan is a state party.

Emin Milli, aged 30, is the co-founder of the online Alumni Network organisation and the editor of the internet television site, ANOT. Adnan Hajizade, aged 26, is the co-founder of the youth movement OL (To Be). On 8 July 2009 Milli and Hajizade were arrested by the police in a restaurant in Baku following a scuffle outside between the two men and others. Milli and Hajizade claim that the incident was deliberately set up to provoke the fight, and that while they were victims of an assault, they are the ones to be prosecuted fro "hooliganism" while their attackers were set free.

On 11 November 2009 a judge with the Sabail District Court in Baku handed down a two-year and two and a half-year prison sentence to Milli and Hajizade respectively, on charges of 'hooliganism' and 'inflicting minor bodily harm'. It is widely believed that these are fabricated charges, and that the reasons for both Internet writers' convictions are their postings on the Internet on government corruption, education and freedom of expression.

Milli and Hajizade's most popular piece is a video that has been widely distributed on the internet in which a person dressed as a donkey holds a news conference and speaks about the good life in Azerbaijan, satirising the Azeri government's decision to pay very high prices to import donkeys. The video had been released just days before their arrest. To see the video in Youtube (in Azeri language with English subtitles) click here.

Milli and Hajizade's defence lawyers have announced they will appeal their sentence. The case has raised international condemnation.

For more details read: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Please send appeals:

• Protesting the prison sentences handed down to Internet writers and youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade;
• Calling for their immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Azerbaijan is a state party;
• Calling on the Azeri authorities to take urgent measures to ensure the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.

Appeals to:

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066
Fax: 994 12 492 0625

Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005 Baku
Fax: 994 12 492 45 90

We recommend that you send a copy of our appeal to the Azerbaijani Embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:

His Excellency Fakhraddin Gurbanov
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
4, Kensington Court
London W8 5DL

CHINA: Prominent dissident writer likely to be prosecuted soon.

CHINA: Prominent dissident writer likely to be prosecuted soon.

9 December 2009

One year after the arrest of prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, former President and Board member of Independent Chinese PEN Centre, his case has been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate with a recommendation to prosecute. Liu is now expected to be tried on charges of ‘incitement to subversion' for his role in publishing Charter 08 and articles published online since 2005. Liu Xiaobo was arrested on 8 December 2008 for his role in publishing Charter 08, a document calling for political reform and human rights. International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) is dismayed by the recommendation, and continues to demand the immediate and unconditional release of dissident writer Liu Xiaobo and all those detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

According to the WiPC's information, on 8 December 2009 Liu Xiaobo's lawyer received a notice from the authorities that his client's case had been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate with a recommendation to initiate a prosecution. This marks the end of the investigation period, which began with Liu's formal arrest on 23 June 2009 on charges of ‘incitement to subversion of state power'. The prosecutor now has one month to decide whether to accept the police recommendation. Liu Xiaobo was arrested on 8 December 2009 and held under ‘residential surveillance', a form of pre-trial detention, at an undisclosed location in Beijing until he was formally charged on 23 June 2009. According to the official Xinhua news agency, he is accused of ‘spreading rumours and defaming the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years'. The charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Liu Xiaobo is among a large number of dissidents to have been detained or harassed since December 2008 after issuing an open letter calling on the National People's Congress Standing Committee to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and launching Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reforms and human rights published on 9 December 2008. These activities were part of campaigns to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December), and were initially signed by over 300 scholars, journalists, freelance writers and activists and now have over 10,000 signatories from throughout China.

Liu Xiaobo first received support from International PEN in 1989, when he was one of a group of writers and intellectuals given the label the "Black Hands of Beijing" by the government and arrested for their part in the Tiananmen Square protests. Prior to his current arrest, Liu has spent a total of five years in prison, including a three year sentence passed in 1996, and has suffered frequent short arrests, harassment and censorship. In January 2009 over 300 writers signed a petition calling for his release.

For more information follow these links:
"An Open Letter to Calling on the National People's Congress Standing Committee to Ratify the ICCPR", 10 December, 2008 (in Chinese),

Charter 08, 10 December, 2008 (in Chinese):

The English version can be found on:

For writings and an interview with Liu Xiaobo see American PEN's website:

Please send appeals:

Expressing dismay about the charge of ‘incitement to subversion' brought against prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo solely for his peaceful dissident activities;
Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Send appeals to:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Mr. Meng Jianzhu
Minister of the Public Security
East Chang'an Avenue 14
100741 Beijing
P.R. China

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. WiPC recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country if possible.

**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 24 January 2009**

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk

Saturday, December 5, 2009

News: Canada

For detail go to http://www.pencanada.ca/

Tuesday, December 8
7:30 PM

Ticket information

News: Melbourne PEN

Dear Asia and Pacific PEN Centres,

I write to invite your participation and contribution to a project that i have been developing for presentation in February 2010 – the tongue-atorium, a research laboratory dedicated to all things tongue. I spoke with many of you about this project when we were in Tokyo.

The tongue-atorium is gathering anything to do with tongue, in any language – poems, recipes, quotes, images, sounds, stories, facts – scientific, linguistic etc. I’m also looking for tongue twisters in other languages and poems about the place of tongue, written in mother tongue. .. or simply poems that mention tongue. I want people to be able to taste other languages, as well as flavours.

“ Tongue” in English has extensive metaphoric resonance – tongue as language, common tongue, mother tongue etc. I am keen to find out how the word ‘tongue’ operates in other languages. If, and what are the metaphors?

I am also very keen to explore the ‘cutting out of tongue’ as a symbol for silencing, censorship. Since 2010 is the 50th anniversary of International PEN’s Writer in Prison Program, I will dedicate one aspect of the tongue-atorium to honouring writers who have been imprisoned and their writing. My aim is to name at least 50 writers, from every continent, male and female. I wonder if yourself and /or your PEN Centre would be interested in providing the name, short bio, and perhaps an excerpt of their work, of a writer or writers who have been imprisoned for their writing.

Melbourne PEN will be holding a number of events over 2010 to honour writers who have been imprisoned.We will use the names and bios that you provide, to create a poster, or display that will honour these writers for the year. I believe that we could also create an honour role on the Asia and pacific Writers Network website. So I would appreciate if you could help us with this.

I am inviting contributions to this research using a ‘word of mouth’ methodology, so would appreciate if you would pass on the invitation to anyone you feel may be interested. All contributors will be acknowledged as artist/writers and co-researchers.

The tongue-atorium will be constructed over January, so i will require all contributions as early in January as possible. It would also be very helpful if you could let me know as soon as possible what form/s your contribution might take.

I am aiming to gather some of this research and create a Special Edition for the Asia and Pacific Writers Network website.

I have attached 2 other documents – an invitation, which provides more detail about the project; and Questions of the tongue, a short survey which you may care to answer and return.

I am also inviting PEN Centres from the Asia and Pacific Region to put together an Edition of work for the Asia aand Pacific Writers Network website for 2010 or 2011. Also a reminder that a&pwn is always interested to receive your news and to publish it.

I look forward to hearing from you

warm regards

berni m janssen

Melbourne PEN Centre


questions of tongue….

1. Have you ever eaten tongue?

If yes, when, what did it taste like, who cooked it and how was it cooked and served? Who did you eat it with?

If no, would you? And if not, why not?

2. Have you ever cooked tongue? If so, how?

3. Do you know (m)any recipes for cooking tongue? If you do, could you provide the recipe/s.

4. Do you know people who cook tongue? If yes, who, how, when… An example – did your mother or father cook tongue? How was it prepared?

5. How is tongue, as a food perceived as a food amongst people you know?

6. Has tongue as a food shifted in perception in your culture over time, place?

7. What is the word for tongue in your language?

8. In English tongue can be used as another word for language? Is this the same in your first language, or other languages you speak?

9. In English, tongue is used often metaphorically eg loose tongues, cat got your tongue, mother tongue, forked tongue. Does tongue have metaphoric resonances in your language. If, yes, what are some examples.

10. Do these metaphors contribute to, inform, a cultural sensibility?

11. In English, tongue has a promiscuous ambiguity. Does this occur in your language? If yes, examples?

12. Does tongue have other ambiguities?

13. Do you know stories that are about tongue or include tongues? Mythical, historical, personal or otherwise?

14. Do you know any tongue twisters in languages other than English. What is the word for tongue twister in this language? If so, could you provide, an audio and a written version?

15. When you speak a foreign language, the sounds are unfamiliar on the tongue. How does this make you feel? Do different sounds make you feel differently?

16. Do you know of languages that use more tongue than others? Examples?

17. When you are concentrating do you ever hold your tongue in a particular way?

18. In English, the metaphor for silencing, or censorship can be cutting out one’s tongue. Does this work in your language as well. If yes, we would like to give ‘ tongue’ or voice to stories that have been ‘silenced’. If they are able to be shared, could you provide a story. An example might be of a writer who has been imprisoned for their beliefs….

An invitation… to participate in and contribute to a research project…

the tongue-atorium

Tongue-atorium: A laboratory dedicated to the research of all things tongue.

All resonances, metaphors and ambiguities intended.

(m)other tongue

taste the wor(l)d

The Tongue-atorium is a laboratory dedicated to researching the tongue as:

1. a physical entity

  • a sounding instrument
  • a tasting instrument
  • a site of exchange
  • a sensory probe
  • a visual signal eg poking out tongue
  • a food

2. A metaphor

In the English language, tongue resonates metaphorically:

  • language
  • mother tongue
  • common tongue
  • forked tongue
  • silver tongue
  • slip of the tongue
  • tongue in cheek
  • hold your tongue
  • tongue-tied
  • cat got your tongue
  • bite your tongue
  • wagging tongues
  • loose tongues
  • tongue lashing
  • tongue and groove
  • speaking in tongues
  • tongues of fire
  • tongue of land

3. Cutting out the tongue – silencing – historical and current censorship. Freedom of Speech.


The tongue-atorium houses the research collection – images, sounds, objects, texts, printed and digital material and is also a space dedicated to the ongoing investigation of tongue. All things tongue co-exist there: grotesque; sensuous; erotic; culinary; scientific; aesthetic; barbaric; poetic; kitsch and etc An environment extravagant in its obsession. What one finds poisonous another devours in delight…

  • (m)other tongue symposia will be conducted by Experts of the Tongue who will loosen tongues to shake out the subtle flavours and textures of their knowledge. Secrets of the tongue will be shared. Tongue twisting and other tongue exercises, for the tongue tied, practiced. Poems in (m)other languages learnt, tongue cooked and consumed, and tongue tales - stories, recipes, facts and fictions shared. Experts of the Tongue include: chefs; cooks; poets; translators; linguists; Chinese medical practitioners; cultural commentators; scientists; tasters; and ….
  • open sessions designated times where the tongue-atorium is open to the public and Experts of the Tongue are present and in conversation.


Tongue-atorium will be presented as part of the In Habit season, February 12– February 28 2010.

Saturday 20 February

11 am – 4pm: tongue-atorium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

4pm – 7pm (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential

Sunday 21 February

11- 2: (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential.

2 – 6pm: tongue-atorium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

Saturday 27 February

11 am – 4pm: tongue-atorium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

4pm – 7pm: (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential

Sunday 28 February

11- 2: (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential.

2 – 6pm: tongue-aroium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

Experts of the tongue will contribute to the research whilst the research laboratory is open. Details published closer to the event.

All visitors to the tongue-atorium and (m)other tongue symposia are invited to contribute to the research. Bring a story, image, sound, poem to be added to the collection.


The Scullery, Abbotsford Convent.

Research contributions.

Are you an Expert of the Tongue? Cook, chef, linguist, poet, translator, academic etc Would you be able to participate in: an Expert of the Tongue gathering ( Enoteca. 229 Gertrude St Fitzroy.)

– to cook and converse; and at least one (m)other tongue symposia ( the Symposia will be for three hours – so for around four hours, in February 2010) and perhaps an Open session conversation (over an hour). You may also need to do some preparation.

Are you interested in contributing to the research collection, of ‘all things tongue’. What that might be: image, object (from kitsch statuettes of frogs with extended tongues to Vacola jars with pickled tongues), tongue chart, tongue tie, poem, story, myth, recipe, tongue twisters (in any language) sound works, recordings, the word for tongue in any language, facts: scientific, anatomical, linguistic, culinary, odd tales. From the grotesque to the erotic, all contributions accepted. The contribution can be as small as a quote, a suggestion, a tongue-sound, a recipe or it could be a larger work. The contribution can be in a variety of media: print; audio file; video; digital, object.

I am also seeking contemporary stories to do with censorship and freedom of expression from across the world.

I am using ‘word of mouth’ as my collection methodology. So, if you know people who might be interested in contributing, let them know, and ask them to contact me.


All contributors will be acknowledged as co-researchers in full programs, publications and documentation created for the project.


This is a project that is researching cultural exchange. What is the exchange when you have been invited to contribute research, and as an arts project on limited budget, I cannot afford to pay you? What would you want in exchange? What could the exchange be?

Perhaps for Experts of the Tongue in the symposia, there is an opportunity to exchange knowledge, participate in an event that is out of their usual domain, and have fun. For some this might be sufficient. For others, what would you want in Exchange?

For people who contribute to the research collection, what is the exchange? Besides being ‘an exhibition’ of your work, or an opportunity for playful art-making or to participate. I intend to create some mementos – perhaps a small Book of Tongue (with some images and texts and sounds); some Tongue Cards (image one side and a text on the other); a tongue stamp …. and these would be given to contributors, as a mark of appreciation.

I am interested to hear people’s thoughts and suggestions, about the whole concept of ‘exchange’. This will also contribute to the research.

Time Frame

  • If you are interested in contributing, contact me with your ideas, as soon as possible.
  • Experts of the Tongue I need to have identified as soon as possible.
  • An Experts of the Tongue gathering will be held in January.
  • The Deadline for all contributions is negotiable to a degree, but from mid December 2009, preferable. (This is to enable the conceptualization and assemblage, of the tongue-atorium and other paraphernalia over January 2010)
  • February 12 – 17, 2010 (installation)
  • February 18 – 28, 2010. Presenting tongue-atorium.


berni m janssen – bernimjanssen@gmail.com

ph: (03) 5343 6238

(image from Damon Kowarsky – Mask 1.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

PEN American Center:PEN News: November 11, 2009‏


TOMORROW, November 12, 6:30 p.m.

A Tribute to Marie Ponsot
The New School: Tishman Auditorium
66 West 12th Street, NYC


2010 Literary Awards
PEN American Center is accepting submissions and nominations for the 2010 Literary Awards. For a complete list of awards and submission guidelines, please visit www.pen.org/awards.


PEN on Facebook
PEN on YouTube
PEN on Flickr
PEN on Twitter

PEN American Center

588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
Tel. (212) 334-1660
Fax. (212) 334-2181


PEN Calls on President Obama to Stand Up for Free Expression in China
Prior to Barack Obama’s first state visit to China, PEN American Center sent a letter urging the President to intervene on behalf of the more than 40 writers detained because of their work. >> More

Book Groups Support Patriot Act Reform Bill in House
The Campaign for Reader Privacy urged supporters to contact members of the House of Representatives in support of a bill that tightens restrictions on using the Patriot Act to obtain library and bookstore records. >> More


Saturday, Nov. 14:
Freedom to Write

At this year's Miami Book Fair, Francine Prose, Mary Gordon, Ana Menendez, Michael Thomas, and Sam Tanenhaus explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves. >> More

Monday, November 30:
Javier Marías & Paul Auster: A Reading

Upon publication of the English translation of the final volume of his Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, Javier Marías makes his first visit to the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center for a night of readings with Paul Auster. >> More

Wednesday, December 2:
Crossing Over: The 2009 PEN Beyond Margins Celebration

Jane Ciabattari and Brendan Curry join the 2009 Beyond Margins Award winners Uwem Akpan, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Lily Hoang for a night of readings and a panel discussion about the authors' work. >> More


Breakout: Voices from Inside
Listen to Mary Gaitskill, Eric Bogosian, Patricia Smith, and others read award-winning work from PEN’s Prison Writing Program, along with a conversation between Jackson Taylor, Lemon Andersen, and Jamal Joseph. >> More

PEN Video
Visit the web site for video of readings and conversations from recent PEN events, in addition to audio, manuscripts, and photos:

Bearing Witness in Chechnya: The Legacy of Natalia Estemirova
Reckoning with Torture: Memos and Testimonies from the "War on Terror"

Readings from PEN America 11: Make Believe
Listen to excerpts from PEN's award-winning literary journal:

Paul Auster reads poems by Liu Xiaobo
Roxana Robinson reads "Rapture Children" by Sigrid Nunez

>> Order PEN America

Competition, prize and other information



The Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford has announced
the publication of the 2010 case for the Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot
Court Competition. Students will have four months to research and formulate
arguments from both the applicant's and the government's perspective,
before submitting the written memorials. The finals take place at Oxford
University in March 2010.

The moot court competition is designed to stimulate an interest in media
law and policy among students of law and other disciplines who intend to
cultivate expertise in arguing a case before an international bench of
judges. The international nature of the competition allows students to
learn from legal systems different from their own by working on comparative
studies and research of regional and international standards to inform
their own arguments and writing.

Participants will function in a world where a Universal Court of Human
Rights has been established to ensure that citizens of the United Nations
are enjoying the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UDHR). In this world, the Universal Court replaces all
jurisdictions of all other regional courts and becomes the final
adjudicator when all national options have been exhausted.

Registration deadline: 30 November 2009.

For more information, please contact Louise Scott at louise.scott (@)
csls.ox.ac.uk or tel: +44 1865 284252.

More on the web:
- Case for 2010: http://pricemootcourt.socleg.ox.ac.uk/


Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is honouring reporter Jila
Baniyaghoub of Iran and the Russian news outlet "Novaya Gazeta" with the
2009 International Press Freedom Award for "extraordinary courage and
overcoming tremendous odds to report the news." CJFE is also honouring
Canadian writer and journalist Terry Gould for his documentation of attacks
on the media, despite great personal risk, with the Tara Singh Hayer
Memorial Award.

"Novaya Gazeta" is an independent newspaper in Russia that challenges the
state and uncovers corruption and human rights abuses. Four of its
journalists have been murdered. Other journalists on staff have been
beaten, arrested and continue to be watched closely by the police. Unbowed,
editor Dmitry Muratov and deputy editor Sergei Sokolov continue to publish.

Jila Baniyaghoub is an Iranian editor, journalist and women's rights
activist who has been beaten, arrested and imprisoned for covering women's
rights and state oppression. Recently, she was arrested in the sweep of
dissenting voices in Iran following the disputed June elections.

Terry Gould is a freelance investigative journalist and author of "Murder
without Borders: Dying for the Story in the World's Most Dangerous Places."
This recent book looks at impunity, media repression and censorship,
examining the lives of seven journalists killed because of their work.
Gould travelled to some of the most dangerous countries for journalists:
Colombia, Russia, Philippines, Bangladesh and Iraq to interview the
journalists' families, friends and sometimes their murderers.

The 12th Annual International Press Freedom Awards Gala takes place on 9
December in Toronto.

In addition, on 27 October, CJFE saluted Paul Pritchard with the first CJFE
Citizen Journalism Award. Pritchard filmed four police officers using a
taser on Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in 2007, which resulted in
Dziekanski's death. "Without the tape we wouldn't have had the journalistic
investigation, the year-long inquiry into the incident, and we wouldn't
have seen the safer use of the taser by police departments across the
country," said CJFE.

Related stories on IFEX.org:
- CJFE honours two journalists and Russian news outlet with 12th annual
Press Freedom Awards: http://www.ifex.org/awards/2009/10/23/cjfe_awards/

More on the web:
- CJFE honours Paul Pritchard with the first CJFE citizen journalism award:


The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is honouring exiled North Korean
journalist Kim Seong-Min with its 2009 Asia Democracy and Human Rights
Award. Seong-Min is the founder and director of Free North Korea Radio and
is being recognised for his "courageous defiance" of the North Korean

The award is a show of support for Kim Seong-Min's ongoing effort to
provide an independent source of news to North Koreans. He served in the
North Korean army for 10 years, and the first time he attempted to leave
the country, he was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death. As he was
being taken to the execution site, he jumped off a moving train. In 1999,
he defected to South Korea. Free North Korea Radio was started in 2004.

The North Korean regime forbids any independent media and does not allow
Internet use, reports Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The only way to get
alternative information to North Korea is by radio broadcasts. For example,
Radio Free Chosun (RFC) in Soeul has a program that analyses textbooks,
revealing how the North Korean regime has distorted history and
information. "We urge the international community to be much more
supportive of the North Korean exile journalists who use radio stations to
defy the relentless censorship imposed by Kim Jong-il."

Kim Seong-Min will be given the award at a ceremony in Taipei on 10
December, International Human Rights Day. The award includes a US$100,000
grant to support Free North Korea Radio.

More on the web:
- Call for more international support for exile radios after station
director wins award (RSF):
- Taiwan Foundation for Democracy:



As the Pakistani state combats different insurgent groups, increased
violence this year has led to a crackdown on media. Some radio stations
have been ordered to not broadcast BBC Urdu-language programs and
parliament is ratifying severe regulations to control how the conflict is
covered, report the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and other IFEX members.
Journalists are also caught between the military and extremists as they
struggle to practice their profession.

On 29 October, changes were made to the Pakistan Electronic Media
Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) law, introducing clauses that ban the
broadcast of statements from militants, live footage of a suicide bomber or
terrorist attack, as well as news that is counter to the ideology of
Pakistan and state sovereignty. Broadcasts are also banned that defame or
ridicule the head of state, armed forces, or the executive, legislative or
judicial branches of the state, report IFEX members. PPF reports that
lawmakers from the ruling party and the opposition supported the

The government is combating extremists in many parts of the country under
their control, but introducing a system of censorship will only obstruct
plural voices and media development. "It's unacceptable for a democratic,
civilian-led government to propose legislation that is essentially
censorship," said Freedom House.

At the same time, PEMRA told 15 FM radio stations to stop broadcasting BBC
news bulletins because of technicalities over the terms of their licenses,
reports PPF, calling this international ban a "serious breach of freedom of

Meanwhile, in Quetta, Baluchistan, a respected newspaper "Asaap" was shut
down by a paramilitary group in August. There has been no reaction from the
government, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

A recent situation report by the International Federation of Journalists'
(IFJ) Asia-Pacific branch describes Pakistani journalists under threat from
separatist groups, nationalist forces, political parties and paramilitary
actors. The report focuses on the media environment in Balochistan, where
journalists struggle with low wages, lack of training and resources, as
well as frequent threats and violence with no protection offered by
employers. Those who try to practice journalism in this tense environment
tend to practise self-censorship. Some journalists must work for more than
one media outlet to earn an income, says IFJ. In fact, one journalist told
IFJ that he works for 11 media outlets. Others become journalists because
they can find no other work; they only wish to acquire a press card to take
bribes for stories, undermining the profession.

Local journalists, who work with international organisations like BBC,
Reuters, and others, enjoy a better working environment but face threats
from separatist groups who feel they have a right to international media
space to air their views, says the report.

When it comes to security concerns, journalists are cautious not to offend
any of the armed groups, says IFJ. But journalist Chisti Mujahid was
murdered in February 2008 for writing about a chief of Balochistan's
powerful Murree tribe who had been killed and buried in neighbouring

"The Baloch nationalists often dictate to us that their reports should be
published in such and such a manner," Razaur Rahman, editor of the "Daily
Express", told IFJ. Journalists have been shot at, bombed, beaten and
detained. Because of their writing, some have had their equipment seized;
others have been told to leave Balochistan or be killed.

Despite tensions in Balochistan, Pakistan's media environment has
flourished in recent years with the expansion of television and radio,
providing live domestic and international news coverage, commentary, and
call-in talk shows, giving diverse and critical viewpoints, says Freedom
House. But the recent clampdown on independent media is a serious setback,
and restricting press freedom during periods of unrest is a disservice to
the Pakistani people.

Related stories on IFEX.org:
- National Assembly Standing Committee recommends curb on electronic media
coverage: http://ifex.org/pakistan/2009/11/03/pemra_law_amendments/
- Dire conditions and insecurity confront Balochistan journalists:



To mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer (DoIW) on 15 November, the Writers
in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) is highlighting the cases
of imprisoned writers and honouring those who have been slain for defending
free speech. WiPC is calling on all activists and writers to show
solidarity on behalf of persecuted writers by sending appeals to
authorities. This year WiPC is shining a spotlight on five people from
around the world.

WiPC is urgently asking for help for two dissidents facing long prison

Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, former president and current board member of the
Independent Chinese PEN Centre, has been detained since 8 December 2008,
for advocating political reform and the protection of human rights. He was
charged in June 2009 with "incitement to subversion of state power." If
convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. He has had limited access to
his lawyer and family. He has a long history of human rights activism and
has been harassed, arrested, imprisoned and censored on numerous occasions.
Liu Xiaobo first received support from International PEN in 1989 after he
was arrested for protesting in Tiananmen Square.

The other imprisoned dissident that WiPC is focusing on is
singer/songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga who has been detained since April 2008
and was fined US$640,000 for writing a song critical of Cameroonian
President Paul Biya. He is serving a three-year sentence for alleged
complicity in anti-government riots. In October, it was reported that he
was suffering from typhoid fever.

WiPC also continues to advocate for Maziar Bahari, a journalist, playwright
and filmmaker with dual Iranian and Canadian citizenship who was detained
during this year's media crackdown after the disputed Iranian presidential
elections in June. After four months in Tehran's Evin prison he was
released on bail on 17 October. Although he is now in the U.K., Bahari
still faces charges.

The 15 November campaign is also an effort to remember killed journalists
and bring attention to the dangers their colleagues continue to face.
Russian journalist Natalya Estemirova was abducted from her Grozny
apartment in Chechnya and murdered in July this year. She was found shot to
death in nearby Ingushetia. She uncovered massive, ongoing human rights
violations and was the only reliable source of information on Chechnya for
other journalists and human rights organisations. In Mexico, Miguel Ángel
Gutiérrez Ávila, an anthropologist, author and indigenous rights activist,
was beaten to death in Guerrero state in July 2008.

Please send appeals for these highlighted cases on or around 15 November to
the correct authorities as well as to the embassy concerned in your own
country. Other suggested actions include organising a petition that can be
sent to the embassy of the country on 15 November with a letter requesting
an audience with the ambassador or organising a signature campaign to get
prominent writers, media personalities and others to sign an appeal.
Letters to newspapers, peaceful marches, or an event where works by
imprisoned writers will be read, to which the press is invited, are also
possible actions. Please report back to WiPC if you get a positive

For more information on each of these cases and on where to send specific
appeals, please contact Sara Whyatt or Tamsin Mitchell at tel: + 44 (0) 20
7405 0338, or email: sara.whyatt (@) internationalpen.org.uk or
tamsin.mitchell (@) internationalpen.org.uk

Related stories on IFEX.org:
- Help free imprisoned songwriter:
- Journalist freed on bail; repression continues:

More on the web:
- WiPC's guide to defending writes under attack:
- Prominent reporter abducted, murdered in Chechnya (CPJ):
- Liu Xiaobo (PEN American Center):
- Two leading writers and advocates detained and released (CPJ):

Saturday, November 7, 2009

English PEN : Events in November.

a quick reminder of the variety of events English PEN is running in November. Details of our full Writers in Public series can also be found on the English PEN website: www.englishpen.org .

Free Speech is Not for Sale

Tuesday 10 November, 12pm-2pm, light lunch provided.

This is a free event but booking is essential.

Venue: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3GA

We currently have a few places remaining for our event celebrating the publication of our report on English libel law reform, and the launch of the Libel Reform Campaign.

English PEN and Index on Censorship have been looking into these issues in detail for over a year now and it has become increasingly clear to us that English libel law and the use of ‘super-injunctions’ are having a profoundly negative impact on freedom of expression, both in the UK and abroad. Writers such as Simon Singh, and respected current affairs programme Newsnight, have found themselves facing defamation suits, whilst human rights campaigners are often forced to edit and retract articles in the face of potential libel action. The launch will begin at 12 noon with an introduction by special guests. We do hope to see you at the launch of this important campaign to restore one of our most cherished freedoms.

Please RSVP to mike@libelreform.org if you are interested in attending.

St Bride’s Service

Sunday 15 November, 6.30pm

Venue: St Bride’s Church, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4

Free admission

Sunday 15 November sees our annual service to mark the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer at St Bride’s Church Fleet Street. There are currently over 650 cases of concern to PEN, writers who have been imprisoned, threatened, harassed, attacked, ill-treated, kidnapped, disappeared, and in the most extreme cases killed for exercising their right to free expression. Over 200 of these are currently in prison. This service, led by Canon David Meara, aims to raise awareness of their plight. With music from the fantastic St Bride's choir, and readings from the work of English PEN's imprisoned and persecuted Honorary Members performed by actors Henry Goodman, Jasper Britton, Claire Price and Sarah Smart, it promises to be another moving evening at the spiritual home of printing and the media.

For more information please contact Cat Lucas via cat@englishpen.org or on 020 7324 2535.

The Art of Rhetoric

Monday 16 November, 7pm

Venue: Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG

Tickets: £9.50 online £11.50 offline. To book, call 020 7520 1490 or visit www.kingsplace.co.uk

We are delighted to announce that Geoffrey Robertson QC will be joining our very distinguished panel for The Art of Rhetoric on Monday 16 November. In the year since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, the visionary language which he used to inspire a nation has come under intense pressure. Does Obama's mastery of rhetoric conceal a lack of substance? Or are we too cynical about political language in the UK? Historian and broadcaster Simon Schama, writer and commentator Polly Toynbee and renowned orator Tony Benn discuss the uses and abuses of language by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, chaired by Lisa Appignanesi. Do join us for what promises to be a very lively and informed debate.

William Shawcross

Wednesday 18 November, 12.15pm for 12.45pm. £25 includes pre lunch drink, lunch with wine.

Venue: The Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4ER.

To book please call 020 7629 5462 and quote ‘PEN Member Offer’.

Finally, English PEN members are cordially invited to join with members of the Savile Club in welcoming William Shawcross as a lunchtime speaker. Shawcross will speak about his recent biography of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, his career as a writer and his commitment to freedom of expression. For more information please email Patrizia Cox on admin@savileclub.co.uk .

This November will see three very special English PEN events, including a unique screening of Michael Frayn’s 1974 documentary about Berlin followed by a discussion between Michael Frayn, Ian McEwan and Dennis Marks; a debate about the politics of language and the language of politics with Tony Benn, Polly Toynbee and Simon Schama, and the annual St Bride’s Service in honour of imprisoned writers everywhere.


Imagine a City Called Berlin

Tuesday 3 November, 6.30pm

The Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road , London EC1R 3GA

£8/£5 members

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, English PEN hosts a special screening of a classic documentary written and presented by Michael Frayn. Made in 1974, the film explores the fragments of a city frozen in time by the building of the Wall. After the screening, there will be a discussion between Michael Frayn, the film's director Dennis Marks and Ian McEwan about the continuing fascination of Berlin past and present.

For tickets, call 020 7324 2535 or
book online.

Please note that English PEN will not be sending out paper tickets for this event. Names of guests will be held on a list at the door.

St Bride’s Service

Sunday 15 November, 6.30pm

St Bride’s Church, Bride Lane , Fleet Street , London EC4

Free admission

To mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, the Writers in Prison Committee will be holding our annual service at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street. The service, led by Canon David Meara, aims to raise awareness of the plight of persecuted and imprisoned writers around the world.

With music from the fantastic St Bride's choir and readings from the work of imprisoned and persecuted writers read by actors Henry Goodman, Jasper Britton and Sarah Smart, it promises to be another moving evening at St Bride’s, the spiritual home of printing and the media.

Admission to this event is free. All welcome. Refreshments will be available after the service.

The Art of Rhetoric

Monday 16 November, 7pm

Kings Place, 90 York Way , London , N1 9AG

£11.50/£9.50 online

In association with King's Place.

In the year since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States , the visionary language which he used to inspire a nation has come under intense pressure. Does Obama's mastery of rhetoric conceal a lack of substance? Or are we too cynical about political language in the UK ? Historian and broadcaster Simon Schama, writer and commentator Polly Toynbee and renowned orator Tony Benn discuss the uses and abuses of language by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic , in a discussion chaired by Lisa Appignanesi.

To book, call 020 7520 1490 or visit

সোফিয়া ওয়াদিয়াঃ ভারতীয় পি ই এন প্রতিষ্ঠাতা

ভারতীয় পি ই এন প্রতিষ্ঠাতা সোফিয়া ওয়াদিয়াকে আমরা অনেক ভারতীয়রাই চিনিনা জানিনা। তার কিছু পরিচিত এখানে আমি দিলাম। তিনি ভারতীয় সাহিত্যের...