PEN International © 2017
Terms & Conditions | Privacy Statement

Criminal Defamation

Photo by PEN International

Since 2016 PEN International and PEN Centres in Africa have carried out a focused campaign to repeal criminal defamation and insult laws in Africa, which are a serious barrier to freedom of expression across the continent. The project, funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), has sought to build the capacity of writers through training and mentoring to take a lead role as civil society actors to advocate for the repeal of such laws.  Advocacy at the national and regional levels, including at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the Pan African Parliament, has been underpinned by research in four countries - Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia -  which has demonstrated the impact of such laws on writers seeking to report on issues deemed sensitive by power holders. The project has sought to add impetus to initiatives on-going by the ACHPR and other NGOs to prioritise decriminalisation as a critical step in advancing freedom of expression across the continent.