NOVEMBER newsletter

Dear Members, Friends and Fellow Travellers,

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our event on 10 November. Thank you for joining the conversation with Srijato, a critically acclaimed and highly popular Bengali poet and Perth-based poet Robert Wood. We managed to get through a wide range of topics: from translation to the growing restrictions on free speech in Modi’s India.

We are celebrating this year’s Human Rights Day on Saturday 10 December, with journalist, scholar and PEN Perth Patron Peter Greste. We look forward to welcoming you at the Centre for Stories to discuss Peter’s radical new ideas about ‘how to fix the media in the digital era

We need your active participation to build connections with writers and readers around the world . If you have not joined PEN Perth as a member, we hope you will consider joining as you plan for the year to come. We thank you also for distributing our newsletter and event information widely through your networks.

Krishna Sen (Chair)

Upcoming LIVE event (Perth, WA)

Title: How to fix the media – what a free media looks like in a digital age
Date: 10 December, 11am-12:15pm
Venue: Centre For Stories (100 Aberdeen St, Northbridge WA 6003)

The media is broken. Trust in journalism is at an all-time low, media companies are downsizing, and the consequences for our politics and public debate are devastating. Can it be fixed? Professor Peter Greste believes it can. A journalist with more than 30 years experience, and now an academic at Macquarie University, he comes with some radical ideas about how to repair it. Please head on here to obtain a ticket.

Professor Peter Greste is an academic, film maker, journalist, and author. He is currently professor of journalism at Macquarie University. He is best known for becoming a headline himself, when he and two of his colleagues were arrested in Cairo while working for Al Jazeera, and charged with terrorism offences. In letters smuggled from prison, Peter described their incarceration as an attack on press freedom. His campaign for freedom earned him numerous awards including from the British Royal Television Society, the Walkley Foundation, the RSL, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the International Association of Press Clubs. In 2017, with two colleagues, he established the advocacy group, the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom which actively campaigns for media freedom across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

More upcoming events

EVENT: 26NOV, 9AM (AWST). The Detention of Yuan Keqin. This webinar will discuss the arbitrary detention of Professor Yuan Keqin, a Chinese scholar and Japanese permanent resident teaching at Hokkaido University of Education in Japan, who was arrested by Chinese state security during a home visit to China’s Jilin Province for his mother’s funeral in May 2019. This webinar will address the problem of Chinese governmental threats to the academic freedom and liberties of its citizens studying and working in universities abroad. This webinar is organised by HxEast Asia (East Asia committee of Heterodox Academy).

UPCOMING ACTION: PEN International Writers-at-Risk Crisis Appeal. ‘Our Crisis Appeal is raising critical funds for humanitarian assistance and solidarity for writers at risk worldwide, in response to a steep rise in people seeking our support. Today, more than ever before, we urgently need additional donations to safeguard our mission, to help those who are persecuted, silenced, in prison, or in exile; and to defend freedom of expression, which across the world is under serious threat.’ Donate here:

What’s been happening?

Thank you for attending our event (10NOV) with Robert Wood and Srijato. We had a great time discussing poetry, translation, language and activism – over some delicious Dough pizza.

15-25NOV is a campaign for Day of the Imprisoned Writer, represented by the four writers above. Pictured (left to right): Narges Mohammadi, Server Mustafayev, Tsitsi Dangarembga and José Rubén Zamora Marroquín. See the attached documents for detailed information about each and what you can do to help.

The Writers for Peace Committee (WfPC) was created in order to create cultural links, improve international collaboration, draw attention to pressure on freedom of expression that threatens peace, and support writers in difficult situations. The WfPC continues its original task as a platform for intercultural and literary dialogue among PEN writers committed to the values of peace, tolerance and freedom; without which creation becomes impossible. See the attached file for the minutes from their recent meeting.

HxA East Asia discussion on the National Security Law

Treasurer and Communications Officer Frances An reports back from a discussion on on the National Security Law (NSL)’s stifling of academic freedom in Hong Kong universities. The discussion was organised by HxEast Asia (East Asia community of Heterodox Academy) on 28 OCT. See the text below for her short report.

Suggested reading

The Concerning State of Academic Freedom Across East Asia’ by Shaun O’Dwyer, member of HxEast Asia (East Asia community of Heterodox Academy). This is an urgent and comprehensive coverage of academic freedom issues in China, South Korea and Japan.

PEN America report Reading Between the Lines : Race, Equity, and Book Publishing makes for interesting reading and reflection on Australia’s publishing industry.

PEN America reports crackdown on artists in Asia

The Modern Right’s Cold War Moment’ by Frances An. In response to PEN International’s Rapid Action Network that urges for Pham Doan Trang’s unconditional and immediate release, PEN Perth member wrote an article about why western democracies should care about freedom of expression in totalitarian regimes.

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