Freedom of speech & censorship
Writing in Exile
PEN International Day of the Imprisoned Writer
Writers and journalists are often among the first citizens targeted and punished by autocratic leaders. With creeping authoritarianism and instability in many regions around the world, it's an increasingly dangerous time for writers of all kinds.
On the eve of PEN International's Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we'll hold a special panel event as part of our Writers in Exile…
The Wheeler Centre
Writing in Exile: Roza Germian
Sami Shah and Roza Germian at the Wheeler Centre
‘As a Kurd, I was stateless until I became an Australian, and Australia is the only official home I have, because Kurdistan does not exist on a map.’
Journalist Roza Germian lived through war for most of her childhood. In 1991, when Germian was 10, she was one of more than one million Kurds who fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq following the Iraqi retaliation to the Kurdish uprising. With her family, she later found temporary refuge in Turkey, and then moved permanently to Brisbane at age 15, when her family gained humanitarian visas.
As a teenager, Germian learned English and then went on to gain two university degrees. She now works as the executive producer on SBS Radio's Kurdish programme, where her earliest experiences of terror, persecution and prejudice continue to inform her journalistic work.
At SBS, Germian has continued to highlight stories that concern the Kurdish community here and abroad, from the ISIS conflict to Kurds held in Australia's immigration detention system. Hosted by Sami Shah, the remarkable Germian shares her story and discusses her life and work.
The Wheeler Centre
Kenan Malik on Identity Politics
Vanessa Pigrum and Kenan Malik
‘Contemporary identity politics is less about confronting injustice than about rebranding it,’ Kenan Malik has written.
In this episode, the provocative and insightful London-based scholar outlines his ideas on the limitations of our preoccupation with identity. What do we mean by ‘identity politics’ anyway? And how does the debate about identity relate to the wider debates that now dominate politics, on immigration, populism and diversity?
Malik looks at the arguments, critiquing claims from right and left, tracing the roots of identity politics – from its nationalist, anti-Enlightenment roots, through the struggles of the civil rights movement to the present day.
After presenting his own arguments, he discusses them with Vanessa Pigrum and takes audience questions. Join him for a conversation about the complicated meaning of justice, liberation and solidarity today.
The Fifth Estate
Sally Warhaft and Katharine Murphy at The Fifth Estate
‘Conflict is not a new commodity in news,’ Katharine Murphy has written. ‘ … But media disruption has intensified the conflict cycle, compressing it into smaller, louder, intraday bursts, and those constant interruptions have a material impact on political decision-making, both here and around the world.’
As the Guardian Australia’s political editor, and a veteran of the press gallery in Canberra, Murphy has viewed the decline of traditional media, and its impact on political processes, from a ringside seat. In her On Disruption essay, Murphy maps the ways in which media disruption has affected Australian politics and policy – for better and for worse. In the 20 or so years since the advent of online news, which radical changes do we already take for granted? And in a knee-jerk media environment, how can we develop sound, long-term policies that protect the interests of future generations?
At the Wheeler Centre, Murphy joins host Sally Warhaft as they discuss how politicians, journalists and citizens are learning to navigate the changing new media world order.
PEN Lecture: The War on Journalism – How 9/11 Changed Everything
Since 9/11, the number of journalists who have been imprisoned for their work has risen steadily. In 2017, a record number were behind bars – most for crimes against the state such as treason, sedition or terrorism.
Academic and journalist Peter Greste, who was himself imprisoned in Egypt on terrorism charges, examines the way press freedom has steadily eroded to…
The Fifth Estate
Journalist, author and acknowledged expert in American right-wing extremism David Neiwert talks to Sally Warhaft in an intimate discussion on journalism, media and politics in the context of the alt-right in Trump’s America.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Writers Festival.
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Neighbourhood Watch: Reporting on the Asia-Pacific
Ai Weiwei Accused of Being a Great Artist
If bad artists copy and great artists steal, as Picasso quipped, Ai Weiwei has been paid a high, if backhanded, compliment. Chinese art’s provocateur-in-chief has been charged with plagiarism after being arrested at an airport in Beijing on April 3. Foreign governments have called for the artist’s release, according to the New Yorker, which published this fascinating profile of the professional rabble-rouser last…
Video of Our ‘Gagging for Freedom’ Event
(Click to watch video.)
The line between freedom of speech and vilification is a contentious one. That platitude was borne out last week when the Wheeler Centre hosted a Talking Point event featuring Bernard Keane, Leslie Cannold and James Allan, chaired by Jonathan Green. The discussion centred on the Federal Court action against columnist Andrew Bolt. Discussion touched on whether free speech is a…
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