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PEN International congress campaigns for freedom of expression

28th September 2010

Some of the world's leading authors have come together to fight for freedom of expression for silenced and imprisoned colleagues across the globe.

The 76th congress of PEN International, which is being staged in Tokyo and runs until October 1st, will see hundreds of authors discuss how to help those who are prevented from writing by the state.

Nobel Prize honouree Gao Xingjian and Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood are among the writers who will take part in the event.

John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International, commented: 'Let us not deceive ourselves. This is an increasingly dangerous era for freedom of expression and so for literature and for smaller cultures. There is a new authoritarianism on the rise around the world.'

The conference will seek to raise awareness of censorship and freedom of expression around the world, but will have a special focus on the situation in Asia Pacific nations such as China, Burma, Vietnam and Nepal.

Earlier this month, PEN International called on the United Nations to halt its efforts to impose legal restrictions on defamation of religion, arguing such measures could damage self-expression.
 

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