PUBLIC PANEL #1 FREEDOM UNDER FIRE: AFGHANISTAN, UGANDA, IRAN, and RUSSIA
Freedom of expression is under fire, globally, with writers across regions on the frontline defending their rights to freedom of expression and opinion. Recent updates from Afghanistan show how much freedom of expression and artistic freedom had been affected by the Taliban regime since the take-over of the country. In Russia and Uganda, public space is shrinking via new rules and restrictions, especially on social media. Similarly in Iran, both legislative and judiciary repressions of freedom of expression have been going on for years, only worsening by the day. It is clear that freedom of expression in those and many other countries is being threatened by both state and non-state actors. We will explore how and why our Freedom is under Fire from our writer colleagues.
Empty Chair #3 Narges Mohammadi (Iran) by Mina Thabet
Afghanistan: Samay Hamed, President PEN Afghanistan
Iran: Mansour Razaghi, PEN Sydney
Uganda: Stella Nyanzi, human rights advocate, and poet
Russia: Mikhail Shishkin, Russian oppositional writer
Moderator: Ross Holder, Asia Regional Programme Coordinator
PUBLIC PANEL #2: WRITERS ON THE FRONTLINE: BELARUS, MYANMAR, and CUBARepression of freedom of expression under authoritarian regimes means not only creating a situation where our freedom of speech, opinion, and imagination is under fire, but also an environment where writers who peacefully challenge the status quo, through the use of the word, are continuously at risk of being harassed, intimidated, arrested, killed or forced to go into exile. These are the writers on the frontline, whose opinions, speeches, words and works inspire youths and the general public to defend the human right to freedom of expression. These are the writers who stand by ordinary citizens when they decide to resist an unfair regime. These are the writers who keep speaking up against injustices despite the risks their face, defending and upholding the right to freedom of expression. Our writer members from Belarus, Myanmar and Cuba will tell us more about why writers are on the frontline in this era of freedom under fire.
Empty Chair #4 Maung Thar Cho (Myanmar)
Belarus: Taciana Niadbaj, Executive Director/President PEN Belarus
Myanmar: Nay Phone Latt, ex-Secretary PEN Myanmar
Cuba: Katherine Bisquet, Cuban writer and PEN Case
Moderator: Karin D. Karlekar, PEN America