The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 69th Congress in Mexico City, Mexico, 22–28 November 2003,

Alarmed by actions by the U.S. government and U.S. military forces operating in Iraq that have curtailed and continue to discourage freedom of the press;

Shocked by the deaths of at least twelve journalists operating in Iraq since the outbreak of hostilities on March 20, 2003, four of these being direct casualties of U.S. fire;

Likewise shocked by direct U.S. attacks on broadcasting and media facilities in Iraq;

Deeply disturbed by efforts by U.S. forces during and since the Iraq war to exert substantial control over news and information in and emanating from Iraq, i.e. by direct U.S. administration and censorship of the Iraqi Media Network, and by exerting intense diplomatic pressure on countries in the region to alter the substance of news coverage by independent media outlets;

Troubled that such actions have served to encourage a narrowing of critical press coverage within the United States before, during and since the Iraq War, resulting in widespread self-censorship by U.S. media and in actions to restrict or punish insufficiently favorable foreign media;

Appalled that Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act enables U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor what U.S. residents read, giving them power to secure records of any individual’s library borrowings or bookstore purchases under secret search warrants obtainable without any showing of probable cause or suspicion of involvement in criminal activity, Section 215 also denying the U.S. Congress the power to oversee the effects of legislation it has enacted, and preventing U.S. citizens from evaluating the use and effectiveness of legislation that directly impacts the right to privacy and their freedom to read;

Profoundly troubled by the threat posed to freedom of expression by possible breaches against international human rights conventions to which the U.S. are a party, such as the detention without trial or legal representation under alleged use of torture and psychological pressure of more than one thousand non-U.S. citizens at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks;

Deeply concerned that the Executive Branch routinely thwarts efforts by Congress, the press, and U.S. citizens to gain access to information regarding the implementation of these and all measures enacting under emergency legislations;

Profoundly distressed that the USA PATRIOT Act and related laws make expanded and ill-defined use of terms like “terrorism,” “terrorist organization,” and “support for terrorism,” which could be interpreted and enforced in ways that criminalize normal use of the right to freedom of expression;

Calls on the government of the United States of America to investigate fully and impartially and make public the results of its inquiries into the deaths of journalists killed by U.S. fire in Iraq, and into all attacks by U.S. forces on media and broadcast facilities during and since the Iraq War;

Calls on the government of the United States of America to cease its efforts, through direct and indirect pressure both at home and abroad, to shape the reporting of media outlets, and instead to promote, both in the region and in the U.S., full understanding and respect for the fundamental right of all to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers;

Calls on the government of the United States of America to restore to Americans and U.S. residents the right to borrow or purchase books free of unwarranted government monitoring by repealing Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act;

Calls on the government of the United States of America to release to the fullest extent possible all information on the implementation of all provisions of the antiterrorism legislation with freedom of expression and due process implications in order that U.S. lawmakers and the American people can conduct a full and informed debate on the merits, efficacy, and legality of these measures under the U.S. Constitution and international human rights agreements.