Washington, D.C., September 14, 2006—Eight individuals who have taken risky, at times harrowing stands on behalf of the First Amendment in recent months will discuss their experiences at an upcoming program on September 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

PEN President Ron Chernow will welcome the following forum participants, who have in one way or another come face to face with a government that increasingly intrudes into the private lives of its citizens while it hides its own actions behind a veil of secrecy:

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter James Risen, who exposed the warrantless surveillance program carried out by the NSA and who has been threatened with espionage proceedings; journalist and author Mark Feldstein, who was visited at home by FBI agents demanding access to his research documents for a biography of Jack Anderson to ferret out “classified” documents that may have been leaked to Anderson decades ago; Brian Ross and Richard Esposito, ABC Nightly News reporters who broke stories on secret CIA prisons and harsh interrogation techniques and who learned in the process their phone calls from government sources were being monitored; and Barbara Bailey, George Christian, Peter Chase, and Janet Nocek, the four “John Doe” librarians from Connecticut who successfully challenged an FBI attempt to gain patron information using a National Security Letter.

The program, which will take place in the Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge from 12 noon until 2:00 p.m., is sponsored by The Campaign for Reader Privacy—a joint initiative of the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center that seeks to protect the freedom of all Americans to read what they choose without the government’s knowledge or interference—and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression in celebration of the 25th observance of Banned Books Week.

Award-winning historian and biographer Ron Chernow, President of PEN American Center, will introduce the program, and Association of American Publishers President and former U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder will moderate.

There is no charge to attend but space is limited and reservations are required! RSVP: jplatt@publishers.org

>>Event information

Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105, lsiems@pen.org