TORONTO, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - PEN Canada endorses the following statement from International PEN. In
the midst of the WikiLeaks controversy, the statement reminds us of the
fundamental importance of freedom of expression in a civil society,
acknowledges the complexity of the present situation, and emphasizes
the need for responsible dialogue around this issue.
PEN International champions the essential role played by freedom of
expression in healthy societies and the rights of citizens to
transparency, information and knowledge.
The WikiLeaks issue marks a significant turning point in the evolution
of the media and the sometimes conflicting principles of freedom of
expression and privacy and security concerns. The culture of increasing
secrecy in governments and the rise of new technology will inevitably
lead to an increasing number of transparency issues of this sort. PEN
International believes it is important to acknowledge that while the
leaking of government documents is a crime under U.S laws, the
publication of documents by WikiLeaks is not a crime. WikiLeaks is
doing what the media has historically done, the only difference being
that the documents have not been edited.
PEN International urges those voicing opinions regarding the Wikileaks
debate to adopt a responsible tone, and not to play to the more extreme
sections of society. In a world where journalists are regularly
physically attacked, imprisoned and killed with impunity, calling for
the death of a journalist is irresponsible and deplorable.
PEN International is also concerned by reports that some web sites,
fearing repercussions, have stopped carrying WikiLeaks, and that
individuals, under threat of legal action, have been warned against
reading information provided by the organization. PEN International
condemns such acts and calls upon corporations and states to avoid
breaches of the right to free expression. Governments cannot call for
unlimited internet freedom in other parts of the world if they do not
respect this freedom themselves.
The Wikileaks matter is a dynamic issue which we shall continue to
monitor closely and on which we will refine our position as the
situation requires. We welcome this debate and look forward to further
discussion with the worldwide PEN membership.
SOURCE PEN Canada
For further information: For further information:
Brendan de Caires (email@example.com) PEN Canada, 416 703 8448 ext 21