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International appeal: Writers against mass surveillance

UPDATE from PEN International: UN Privacy Resolution reflects growing anti-surveillance momentum as Writers, Tech Giants and Governments demand reform of US and UK practices (18 December 2013)

Systematic mass surveillance, with the dangers it poses to democracy, is one of the most explosive issues facing us in the 21st century. PEN has already reacted to these challenges with the PEN Declaration on Digital Freedom.

Under the name Writers Against Mass Surveillance a small group of authors has launched an appeal that has been signed by more than 500 writers from around the world, including five Nobel laureates: Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Günter Grass and Tomas Tranströmer. Other prominent signatories include Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Daniel Kehlmann, Nawal El Saadawi, Arundhati Roy, Henning Mankell, Richard Ford, Javier Marias, Björk, David Grossman, Arnon Grünberg, Angeles Mastretta, Juan Goytisolo, Nuruddin Farah, Nick Cave, João Ribeiro, Victor Erofeyev, Liao Yiwu, David Malouf, Umberto Eco and John Ralston Saul.

In this appeal, the writers demand a binding "International Bill of Digital Rights" and call upon the United Nations to enforce fundamental democratic rights such as the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy in the digital realm.

This major, global writers''initiative was organized over the space of several weeks by an international group of writers solely on the basis of personal contacts and networks. For this reason the initiators were unable to reach all the authors they would have liked to include.

PEN International and German PEN are supporting the campaign by forwarding the appeal to its members and inviting them to join as further signatories. The initiators of Writers against Mass Surveillance would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all the PEN Centers for their assistance.

All authors who would like to sign this appeal can send an e-mail to the following address: [email protected] Please include your first and last name and nationality.

Read John Ralston Saul's statement In Support of Writers Against Mass Surveillance.

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