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PEN International Defamation report screenshot

During the 38th United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva at the end of June, PEN International held a parallel event (video here) to promote its recently published investigation into defamation laws in Africa. Read more.

The report focuses on the situation in five African countries: South Africa, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Ghana. Of these five, Ghana decriminalised defamation in 2001, governments in South Africa and Sierra Leone have pledged to follow suit, while governments in Uganda and Zambia show no sign of changing their laws.

The national investigations uncovered many cases of vexatious litigation used to intimidate and discourage writers and publishers. The research included the interviewing of 38 writers and journalists, a number of who confirmed avoiding writing certain stories for fear of prosecution. There are also examples of news publications, wary of defence costs that a case might incur, interfering in editorial decisions.

The report recommends that all Member States of the African Union should abolish criminal defamation laws and release any journalists or writers detained or imprisoned on criminal defamation charges.

The IPA is preparing a policy position on this issue. We aim to release it early next year.

You can read the full report here.

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James Taylor
30 November 2020
Copyright
Publishing industry
The hybrid 40th SCCR maintained the traditional schedule of a normal meeting and so reserved the last session for a quick review of the subjects which are vying for a position on the formal SCCR policy agenda: a miscellany it gathers togeth...
James Taylor
19 November 2020
Copyright
Publishing industry
Day 3 of the hybrid SCCR 40 saw the Exceptions and Limitations discussions take centre stage. Given the decision of Member States to limit interactions at this meeting to stock-taking, the main focus was on the 130-page report issued by WIP...
James Taylor
19 November 2020
Copyright
Publishing industry
This first meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of 2020 is an almost 100% virtual affair, save for a handful of people in the plenary chamber in Geneva, with a dramatically reduced programme of a couple of hou...
James Taylor
25 September 2020
Partnership
Publishing industry
Diversity and Inclusion

As a bonus to our series of posts for Global Goals week, we thought we would concentrate on a specific goal, namely SDG 5: Gender Equality.  

James Taylor
25 September 2020
Book policy
Literacy
Publishing industry
Accessibility
Educational Publishing
Diversity and Inclusion

Francyne Harrigan, the Director of the UN's Information Centre in Jakarta talks to us about how she brought the UN SDG Book Club initiative to Indonesia with a local twist.

James Taylor
23 September 2020
Partnership
Book policy
Literacy
Publishing industry
Accessibility
Educational Publishing
Diversity and Inclusion

As part of Global Goals Week, associations from the Brazilian and Portuguese book sectors came together to announce a new SDG Book Club that will launch in 2021.

James Taylor
22 September 2020
Literacy
Publishing industry
Educational Publishing
Diversity and Inclusion

An Interview with Ellen Sporstøl and Kristin Orjasater on how Norway is inspiring the next generation of readers to become more sustainable. 

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