Each year during Banned Books Week, Amnesty International draws attention to people around the world who have been imprisoned, threatened, or murdered because of their writing, art, or other published work. In solidarity with the American Library Association (ALA) and organizations across the U.S. and around the world, Amnesty activists work to fight challenges to freedom of expression.
Banned Books Week 2021 is September 26 – October 2, but you can take action on the cases below until October 31. AIUSA will also host a launch event on September 21 at 8pm ET/5pm PT. We hope you will join us and take action!
Censorship in the 21st century involves suppression of books, news, and social media. Around the world, governments are trying to control the internet through cyber-censorship and surveillance, and use sophisticated technology to silence, spy on, harass, and track the critical voices individuals and journalists. Join us and hear from representatives from Amnesty International USA, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the International Federation of Library Associations, and journalists and cartoonists from Central America facing criminal charges for their work.
Andrea Sahouri, a journalist with the Des Moines Register, was pepper sprayed, arrested, and detained by police while covering a protest. She was charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts. On March 10, 2021, Andrea was found not guilty of all charges. Read Amnesty’s press release here.
Shakthika Sathkumara, an award-winning Sri Lankan writer, was arrested and charged with propagating hatred and incitement of racial or religious violence for a fictional short story that he wrote. On February 9, 2021, charges against Shakthika were dropped.
A short history of Amnesty International’s work to defend free speech during Banned Books Week.