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As we barrel toward a critical election, the country faces the twin pandemics of the coronavirus and the accompanying “infodemic” of false and misleading information. At the same time, we are reckoning with the systemic inequality and racism that pose an ongoing threat to free expression and to our democracy. In short, free speech and the free flow of information have never been more vital.

With Free Speech 2020, PEN America is working to protect free speech at an uncertain moment. We’re defending journalists and press freedom, combating disinformation that threatens to poison our public dialogue, fighting online harassment in a newly all-virtual world, and defending the right to protest as threats to free speech arise amid the pandemic. Join us in the fight.

The Latest From PEN America

Free Speech 2020: An Interview with Nupol Kiazolu, President of Black Lives Matter Greater NY

Free Speech 2020: An Interview with Nupol Kiazolu, President of Black Lives Matter Greater NY

“I just really want people—young people all around the world—to know that your voice is powerful, your voice holds weight, and your voice can change the world.”
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PEN America’s Guide for Combating Protest Disinformation

PEN America’s Guide for Combating Protest Disinformation

Disinformation about protests is spreading quickly. Learn how to arm yourself against false information about demonstrations.
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The PEN Pod: Examining Our Crises of Democracy with Karen Attiah

The PEN Pod: Examining Our Crises of Democracy with Karen Attiah

“A public health disaster—an epidemic—is also a political crisis. . . I see both things [the pandemic and racial injustice] as two different viruses that are plaguing our society.”
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The PEN Pod: Tough Questions About a Critical Week with Suzanne Nossel

The PEN Pod: Tough Questions About a Critical Week with Suzanne Nossel

“It’s a very unsettling moment. . . we share a sense of alarm at the naked racism and brutality that people, and particularly Black Americans, have experienced.”
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Get Daily Alerts on Threats to Free Speech

Our DARE (Daily Alert on Rights and Expression) is a curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Sign up now to get all the info you need to understand the challenges free speech faces this year.

Pressfreedom

Defending Journalists and Press Freedom

Journalists, and particularly local reporters, are on the front line right now, risking their own safety and reporting on stories that are saving lives. We’re suing the president and fighting back against those who seek to undermine a free press. We’re lifting up journalists who are performing heroics amid a crisis. We’re calling on policymakers to treat local journalists as essential to our economy and our democracy. And we’re pushing back against hundreds of attacks on reporters who’ve covered recent protests.

Disinformation

Combating Disinformation

From the White House press room to news feeds online, misleading information about the coronavirus, our elections, and our democracy have seeped into the public discourse. We’re fighting back, leading a series of online webinars throughout the year to help voters spot false information. And we’re working to ensure campaigns are promoting truth.

Tell Congress: Local News is Critical in the Midst of a Pandemic

Sign the petition to Congress to include funding for local news in the next stimulus package. We’re calling for at least $5 billion to support local journalists and to make information accessible to communities of color, rural communities, working-class communities and immigrant communities.

Online Harassment

Fighting Online Harassment

As our lives move increasingly online amid the coronavirus pandemic, the threat of harassment and vitriol weakens our ability to organize and speak out. PEN America is leading the charge to provide resources and guidance for victims of online harassment, support educators on how to ensure virtual learning is a free speech environment, and inform the public on how they can protect themselves from online hate.

Trump California Protests

Upholding Protest Rights

Demonstrations and protests are core elements of free expression and of democracy, but a growing body of legislation threatens this core constitutional right. We’re tracking state legislation and enlisting our national network of Members to stand up for the right to speak out.

Commentary

First Amendment Rights—If You Agree With the President

First Amendment Rights—If You Agree With the President

The First Amendment is no good if it is used to protect one side of the political spectrum but disregarded for the other.
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Truth Has Become a Coronavirus Casualty

Truth Has Become a Coronavirus Casualty

As the coronavirus spreads, another dangerous virus has followed closely behind: the scourge of government leaders and official authorities obfuscating data, suppressing information, and misinforming citizens about the outbreak.
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Journalists are first responders, too

Journalists are first responders, too

In a moment of such uncertainty and alarm, people are hungry for honesty. Yet just as in 1918, it is all too evident that many public officials are failing to speak the truth
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What to Do if You’re the Target of Online Harassment

What to Do if You’re the Target of Online Harassment

In the middle of a global pandemic, as a wave of anti-racism activism sweeps the nation, conditions are rife for a spike in online hate and harassment.
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Featured Interview

Free Speech Resources

Online Harassment

Online Harassment

Online hate and harassment pose a growing threat to free expression. PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual and trainings equip writers, journalists, and all those active online with tools to defend against online harassment.
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Campus Free Speech Guide

Campus Free Speech Guide

The Campus Free Speech Guide provides guidance to students, faculty, and administrators with the aim of keeping campuses open to ideas and perspectives.
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Arresting Dissent: Legislative Restrictions on the Right to Protest

Arresting Dissent: Legislative Restrictions on the Right to Protest

Arresting Dissent: Legislative Restrictions on the Right to Protest shines a spotlight on the proliferation of state-level legislative proposals seeking to limit protest rights.
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Listen to The PEN Pod

The PEN Pod: The Value of Truth During a Crisis with Paul Farhi

The PEN Pod: The Value of Truth During a Crisis with Paul Farhi

“Misinformation can literally get you killed, and good information can save your life.”
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The PEN Pod: Debunking Disinformation with Jane Lytvynenko

The PEN Pod: Debunking Disinformation with Jane Lytvynenko

“Ultimately, it is all of us that are spreading this misinformation, and I think it’s really important to acknowledge that all of us are going to fall for it.”
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The PEN Pod: Breaking Down PEN America v. Trump with Nora Benavidez

The PEN Pod: Breaking Down PEN America v. Trump with Nora Benavidez

“We’re all online all the time needing information, needing access to what reporters are telling us. They’re the frontlines right now, and we need their voices.”
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The PEN Pod: On the Ground in Minneapolis with Julio-César Chávez

The PEN Pod: On the Ground in Minneapolis with Julio-César Chávez

“There are risks that we [as journalists] know and accept when we undertake these assignments. . . But there’s protesters that are going through the same things.”
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Join Us

Now more than ever, we need you on our team. Your membership dues help support our lawsuit against the White House, provide writers with a lifeline of support, and fortify our literary community amid a time of great uncertainty.

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