Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and a central tenet of an author’s work and livelihood. We work to protect free speech, and to create an environment where all are afforded an equal voice.
We oppose in the strongest terms any attempt to stifle or control the author’s voice whether by censorship, imprisonment, execution, hate speech or trolling.
The SoA also stands against the marginalisation of minority voices in the UK on any grounds, including those of ethnicity, disability and class, and we support initiatives to promote diversity in UK publishing.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.George Orwell
Scottish and Northern Irish Libel Law
The Defamation Act came into law in 2013. Unfortunately, only England and Wales adopted all of the improvements to libel law included in the Act – Scotland enacted only a few and Northern Ireland none at all.
We now have an opportunity to press for reform in Scotland. The Scottish Law Commission has written and recommended a draft bill, and we need to put pressure on the Government to agree and adopt it. The Scottish Government consulted on reforming the law in early 2019, and will report back later in the year.
We are supporting Scottish PEN’s campaign to reform Scottish defamation law. You can find out more here.
We work alongside English PEN and the Publishers Association on Speak Out, a campaign to raise awareness and international support for writers at risk.
- English PEN – Raif Badawi #FreeRaif
- Speak Out – literary community unites for writers at risk | 15 June 2017
With respect to the freedom of expression Article 10 allegations, like any other, Julian Assange should be treated with humanity and afforded his full human rights. We support PEN International’s statement of 12 August 2021 calling for Assange’s immediate release and an end to extradition proceedings.
- Joint letter calling on Home Secretary not to extradite Julian Assange to the US | PEN International 7 October 2022
- Decision to extradite Julian Assange to the United States condemned | PEN International 17 June 2022
- United Kingdom/USA: Immediately release Julian Assange and drop extradition case | PEN International 12 August 2021
- PEN International and English PEN statement against
Julian Assange extradition | 13 June 2019
- Doctors petition Home Secretary over Julian Assange | 23 November 2019