January 18, 2016 – PEN International is delighted to announce its partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) who will be supporting PEN’s work in Africa over the next two years. The program will strengthen the voice of African writers in civil society to promote freedom of expression and democracy.
The project seeks to build the capacity of writers through training and mentoring to take a lead role as civil society actors to advocate for the repeal of criminal defamation laws in Africa. Advocacy at the national and regional levels will be underpinned by research in four countries Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia, which will demonstrate the impact of such laws on writers seeking to report on issues deemed sensitive by power holders such as corruption. A campaign action will be launched whereby over 200 of Africa’s leading writers will petition African leaders to decriminalize libel, insult and defamation.