PEN International Day of the Imprisoned Writer / Freedom of speech & censorship With Sami Shah, Roza Germian, Samah Sabawi and Mammad Aidani

PEN International Day of the Imprisoned Writer

This is a free event. Bookings are essential and can be booked at the link below.

at The Wheeler Centre

Writers and journalists are often among the first citizens targeted and punished by autocratic leaders. With creeping authoritarianism and instability in many regions around the world, it’s an increasingly dangerous time for writers of all kinds.

On the eve of PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we’ll hold a special panel event as part of our Writers in Exile series to discuss old and emerging threats to literary freedoms today.

Host Sami Shah will welcome back the three writers who have shared their personal stories of exile  – journalist Roza Germian, playwright Samah Sabawi and playwright and poet Mammad Aidani – for the last conversation in the series. They’ll discuss their own experiences and their knowledge of press and literary restriction in their respective home countries. They’ll talk, too, about the role Australia can and should play on the international stage with regards to protecting and protesting the freedom of writers here and overseas.

Join us as we talk free minds, free words and free expression today.

Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

https://www.wheelercentre.com/events/pen-international-day-of-the-imprisoned-writere reading

Day Of the Imprisoned Writer Lecture

Tues Nov 19  at 6.30pm to 8.00pm
Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton VIC

Produced by PEN Melbourne

Challenge What You Know: What’s really happening to Julian Assange

What’s really happening to Julian Assange? What has Australia done to protect his welfare? And why aren’t we hearing more about the most intriguing and complex threats to liberal democracy of our time?

Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, will present a talk that considers the questions around the incarceration of Julian Assange and his almost decade long legal struggle. Then, together with Barrie Cassidy she will explore the major issues arising from Julian’s case around free speech and press freedoms that affect us all here in Australia currently.

Jennifer Robinson is an Australian barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London. She has a broad practice in human rights, media law, public law and international law, representing states, individuals, media organisations, journalists and activists in cases before international, regional and domestic courts. She has a particular focus on free speech and civil liberties. Jen is the longest-serving member of Assange’s legal team.

Barrie Cassidy

Barrie Cassidy was host of the ABC’s flagship political program Insiders for 18 years. Before that he worked as a political correspondent based in Canberra, a foreign correspondent based in Washington and Brussels and was for four years press secretary to prime minister Bob Hawke. Barrie has written three books.

This event made possible through the generosity of PEN Sydney, MEAA, Cultural Fund of Copyright Council and our good friends at LaMama.

 All proceeds go to PEN Melbourne to continue to defend freedom of expression: campaigning on behalf of writers who have been silenced by persecution or imprisonment.

Turkey/Syria: Media and journalists under attack

PEN International strongly condemns attacks against journalists and the ongoing media crackdown following Turkey’s offensive in Northern Syria, and calls on all parties to protect journalists from harm and to uphold the rights to freedom of expression and opinion.

On 9 October 2019, the Turkish armed forces started bombing parts of Northern Syria, controlled by Kurdish-led forces previously allied with the US. The Turkish authorities said they aimed at establishing a 32-kilometre deep ‘safe zone’ and transferring millions of Syrian refugees from Turkey. Kurdish-led forces have since reached a deal with Syrian government forces, brokered by Russia, in a bid to stave off the assault.

According to reports, the Turkish offensive has already led to the displacement of 100,000 civilians and scores of casualties, including summary killings. On 11 October, journalists in South-eastern Turkey said they had been targeted by a sniper attack. On 13 October, two journalists were reportedly killed and several others wounded in a Turkish air raid on a convoy of civilians near Ras al-Ain, Northern Syria.

‘We are appalled by reports of attacks against journalists following the Turkish offensive in Northern Syria. Journalists have the right to carry out their work freely and without fear, particularly in situation of conflicts. We call on all parties to immediately and effectively investigate these crimes and bring all perpetrators to justice through fair trials. We further urge them to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law,’ said Emmanuel Pierrat, Chair of PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee.

In Turkey, the authorities reportedly restricted access to social media platforms and messaging services for 48 hours in at least three cities close to the Turkish-Syrian border as it launched its military assault. On 10 October, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul published a statement banning critical news reports and comments of the offensive and threatening those who dared voice dissent with prison sentences.

Hakan Demir, online editor of BirGün daily, and Fatih Gökhan Diler, news editor of the news website Diken, were both briefly detained on 10 October; Demir for a tweet on the offensive and Diler for a report quoting a spokesperson of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Both were subsequently placed under travel ban.

‘Previous Turkish military operations in Syria have seen hundreds of people being prosecuted for social media posts advocating peace. Turkey remains the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The Turkish authorities must put an end to the media crackdown once and for all and ensure that journalists can operate freely’.

‘Syrian people have already suffered eight long years of bloody violence. As PEN members, we abide by our Charter and pledge ourselves to do our utmost to dispel all hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace and equality in one world. We remain deeply concerned about the threat the years-long conflict poses to the safety and security of all people in Syria and to the peace, security, and aspirations of people throughout the region. We call once again on all sides to bring about an end to the conflict in Syria, and to ensure that the rule of law and respect for freedom of expression are fully respected without delay’, added Emmanuel Pierrat.

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax  +44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: Aurelia.dondo@pen-international.org

Spain: Case against Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart should be dismissed

As the trial of writers and Catalan civil society leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart comes to an end, PEN International once again calls on the Spanish authorities to release them immediately and to drop the charges of rebellion and sedition against them.

‘Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart face the possibility of 17 years behind bars for their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. PEN reiterates our demand that charges of charges of rebellion and sedition be dropped and their long detention be brought to an end,’ said Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International.

‘Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart have already spent 20 months in prison. The Spanish judicial authorities have repeatedly refused to release them, with the Constitutional Court rejecting an appeal from Jordi Cuixart as recently as last month. We urge the authorities to release them immediately and to respect their right to peacefully express their opinion,’ added Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

Background information

Writers and Catalan civil society leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart were taken into custody on 16 October 2017 on charges of sedition and were subsequently charged with rebellion in March 2018.

They stand accused of calling on protestors to gather in front of governmental buildings in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September 2017 in order to obstruct searches for electoral materials, and for ‘encouraging, supporting and leading’ sedition through participation in Catalonia’s independence referendum on 1 October 2017.

Their trial opened on 12 February and is due to end on 12 June 2019. In total, 12 Catalan leaders involved in the referendum are being tried for rebellion, misuse of public funds or disobeying the state. Spain’s Supreme Court is expected to issue its verdict in the coming weeks.

On 27 May 2019, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned the detention of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. It called on the Spanish authorities to release them immediately and to accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law. The authorities rejected the findings of the report.

For more information about PEN International’s position on the case against Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart please see Spain: Excessive charges against Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart must be dropped, available in English as well as Spanish and Catalan.

For further details contact PEN International at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338  e-mailinfo@pen-international.org

Challenge What You Know: What’s really happening to Julian Assange

 

15/11/2019
6:00pm – 8:30pm
University of Technology Sydney, 1 Quay St, Haymarket NSW 2007

Quentin Dempster interviews Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

About this Event

What’s really happening to Julian Assange? What has Australia done to protect his welfare? And why aren’t we hearing more about the most intriguing and complex threats to liberal democracy of our time?

Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster Quentin Dempster will interview Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Quentin will ask the hard-hitting questions to get to the heart of the tough issues around WikiLeaks and Assange, free speech and press freedom – and Assange’s almost decade long legal struggle on Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

Be there 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Free parking after 6pm at Broadway Shopping Centre and $13 night parking available opposite the venue after 6pm.

This event is hosted by PEN Sydney with support from Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. All proceeds go to PEN Sydney to continue to defend freedom of expression: campaigning on behalf of writers who have been silenced by persecution or imprisonment.

This event is supported by MEAA, and UTS Schools of Journalism and Law.

Find out more at www.pen.org.au

Jennifer Robinson

Jen is an Australian barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London. She has a broad practice in human rights, media law, public law and international law, representing states, individuals, media organisations, journalists and activists in cases before international, regional and domestic courts. She has a particular focus on free speech and civil liberties. Jen is the longest-serving member of Assange’s legal team.

Over the past nine years, she has been involved in all aspects of the various legal struggles faced by Assange and WikiLeaks, including advising on and negotiating the publication of Cablegate, acting for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings, acting for WikiLeaks in the proceedings against Chelsea Manning, advising on the financial blockade, engagement with UN human rights mechanisms and in relation to Ecuador’s request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Her other recent cases include acting for the BBC World Service in UN engagement over the persecution of BBC journalists by Iran, acting for a Romanian journalist working for the Overseas Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) being sued by an Azerbaijan MP, acting for Vanuatu in the Chagos Islands case before the International Court of Justice, successfully challenging a sweeping anti-protest injunction obtained by a major multinational corporation and having the UK government’s fracking policy declared unlawful on the grounds the government failed to consider scientific developments in climate change. She has advised a wide range of media organisations, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, WikiLeaks and the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists.

She is passionate about using the law as a tool for social justice and to build power in movements for positive change. To that end, Jen created a global human rights program – the Bertha Justice Initiative – which has invested millions in strategic litigation and education for the next generation of movement lawyers. She has also long represented the West Papuan movement for self-determination and its leader in exile, Benny Wenda.

She is a founding board member of the Grata Fund, Australia’s first independent, crowd-sourced public interest litigation fund and sits on the boards of the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights at Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar.

Quentin Dempster

Quentin Dempster is a Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster with decades of experience. He is a veteran of the ABC newsroom and has worked with a number of print titles including the Sydney Morning Herald. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 1992 for services to journalism and is the former Chairman of the Walkley Foundation.

Image credit: Wikileaks/Twitter

 

 

https://www.meaa.org/events/behind-closed-doors-whats-really-happening-to-julian-assange/

Writing in Exile conversation with Roza Germian, hosted by Sami Shah

Join us at our Writing in Exile conversation with Roza Germian, hosted by Sami Shah.
This event if free but you must book your tickets at The Wheeler Centre link below
at
Book your tickets

Roza Germian

‘As a Kurd, I was stateless until I became an Australian, and Australia is the only official home I have, because Kurdistan does not exist on a map.’

Journalist Roza Germian lived through war for most of her childhood. In 1991, when Germian was 10, she was one of more than one million Kurds who fled Saddam Hussein’s Iraq following the Iraqi retaliation to the Kurdish uprising. With her family, she later found temporary refuge in Turkey, and then moved permanently to Brisbane at age 15, when her family gained humanitarian visas.

As a teenager, Germian learned English and then went on to gain two university degrees. She now works as the executive producer on SBS Radio’s Kurdish programme, where her earliest experiences of terror, persecution and prejudice continue to inform her journalistic work.

At SBS, Germian has continued to highlight stories that concern the Kurdish community here and abroad, from the ISIS conflict to Kurds held in Australia’s immigration detention system. Hosted by Sami Shah, the remarkable Germian will share her story discuss her life and work.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

An evening of inspiration, music, food supporting Hrant Dink

Music by  Meyhané

Meyhané is an ensemble of Melbourne-based musicians passionate about performing traditional music from Anatolia, The Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean.

The Melbourne event coincides with the International Hrant Dink Awards in Istanbul. http://www.hrantdinkodulu.org/

The awards are presented to people who work for a world free of discrimination, racism and violence.

Two awards are presented annually.

One of the 2018 Award winners in 2018, MURAT ÇELIKKAN said:

“It is the struggle for human rights that will light the torch of hope against hopelessness, not only in Turkey but in the entire world.”

Delicious home-made Turkish vegetarian finger food and sweets

BYO

$50 per person, bookings only

 At the Mark Street Hall, 1 Mark St, Fitzroy North

Sunday 15th September, 2019           6.00 to 9.00 pm

Contact Con or Jo

Bookings by September 10: admin@penmelbourne.org