However absurd this may seem, people are prosecuted, imprisoned, and even tortured for these very acts, all around the world. Amnesty International will be holding a discussion examining freedom of expression in 2016, why it is so important, and how we can best protect and promote these rights.
Despite age-old rhetoric about freedom and free speech, in reality, governments in the 21st century suppress the right to freedom of speech. Everyday, everywhere, people are threatened or tortured into silence, simply for speaking out and speaking up.
Every year, Amnesty International holds a campaign to create change in the lives of people who have experienced, or are experiencing, human rights abuses. Write for Rights calls on people across Australia and the world to be a voice for the oppressed. Several of the cases this year involve abuses and violations of freedom of expression and speech, and include:
- Fomusoh Ivo Feh, a student from Cameroon facing 20 years for an SMS.
- Shawkan, a journalist in Egypt, jailed for doing his job.
- Johan Teterissa, a teacher in Indonesia, tortured and jailed for waving a flag.
- Máxima Acuña, a peasant farmer in northern Peru, attacked by police for speaking out.
- Eren Keskin, lawyer and former newspaper editor in Turkey, arrested over 100 times for speaking out
As such, the discussion will examine:
- The balance between freedom of speech and national security
- The importance of a free press when journalists and photojournalists face imprisonment, and even the death penalty, for simply doing their jobs
- The changing digital landscape, and the role social media and the internet play in protecting and violating human rights
On December 9th, at Avid Reader Bookstore in West End, we invite people from across Brisbane to come and hear from our esteemed guests, and join us in speaking out against the silencing of free speech.
The guest speakers for the evening will be Professor Katherine Gelber from the University of Queensland, Dr. Angela Daly from the Queensland University of Technology, investigative journalist, Mr. Robert Mukombozi, and Danielle Cronin, editor of the Brisbane Times.