When governments and fundamentalist groups continue to execute restraints on these fundamental rights, journalists and media workers are often the first victims. On World Press Freedom day the Swedish Immigration Directorate zoom in on four ICORN guest writers in Sweden who have experienced the cost of freedom of expression.
Freedom of expression and a free press is essential to democratic societies and a basic human right. When governments and fundamentalist groups continue to execute restraints on these fundamental rights, journalists and media workers are often the first victims.
On World Press Freedom day the Swedish Immigration Directorate zoom in on four ICORN guest writers in Sweden who have experienced the cost of freedom of expression; Mezghebu Hailu Habtewold (Ethiopia) - journalist and language researcher, Khaled Harara (Palestine) - rapper/musician, Parvin Ardalan (Iran) - writer and human rights activist, Diana E. Vallejo, poet (Honduras) - writer and human rights activist.
The need for more cities of refuge to give these advocates of the free word a safe haven to continue working, secure and free, is urgent. ICORN is experiencing an increasing numbers of writers applying for a placement in a city of refuge. Among them a large number of journalists and media workers.
Helge Lunde says:
“Though we see a widespread positive interest around the globe in joining the network, the increasing number of applications that ICORN is receiving from persecuted writers cannot be met by the more slowly growing number of member cities. One of the greatest obstacles in engaging new cities of refuge is restrictions in national immigration rules. In some countries, like the Scandinavian, ICORN has, often together with local PEN centers, been able to negotiate distinct national entry regulations for writers going to ICORN member cities. The ways that the Swedish Art Council and the Swedish Immigration Directorate are working strategically with the cities of refuge have proved a good model for the network and for a rapid expansion of cities of refuge in the country.”
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World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. It is consistent with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 is foundational to ICORN:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.