I became a member of PEN
because of their unwavering support of writers and our freedom of speech. For members, this is not merely an idyllic concept. PEN members demonstrated this when they coordinated the release of a young poet, Orlando Wong, from jail. Wong would later change his name to Oku Onoura and the literary history of Jamaica would be changed because along with Mutabaruka, Mikey Smith, Malachi Smith, and Oku, the birth of dub poetry on this side of the Atlantic was given a chance to survive.
PEN and authors from across Americas condemn violence against journalists in Latin America and call for end to impunity around murders and disappearances in Mexico
To mark World Press Freedom Day 2009, the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN releases the ‘Declaration in Defense of the Freedom to Write in the Americas’, endorsed by over 50 authors throughout the region. The Declaration condemns the persistent attacks on against writers and print journalists in Latin America - particularly Mexico, where in the last five years alone 20 journalists have died and four others disappeared - and calls for an end to the impunity surrounding these cases. PEN urges its members and others to publicize the Declaration and to send as many appeals as possible to the Mexican President now and throughout the year, using the postcard provided.
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