Karin Deutsch Karlekar

Karin Deutsch Karlekar headshot

Karin Deutsch Karlekar is the Director of Writers at Risk, and leads PEN America’s assistance to individuals at risk as a result of their expression, as well as PEN’s work on Iran, Myanmar, and South Asia. She has more than two decades of experience in global free expression, press freedom, and digital rights issues, as well as advocacy and assistance work on behalf of writers, bloggers, and journalists. Prior to joining PEN America, she served from 2001–15 as director of Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press project, coordinating the production of a flagship annual report that tracked trends in global media freedom and rated every country in the world. As well as acting as an expert spokesperson on press freedom issues at conferences, meetings, and in media appearances, Karlekar has developed index methodologies and conducted training sessions on press freedom, internet freedom, freedom of expression, and monitoring dangerous speech; authored a number of special reports and academic papers; and conducted research, assessment, and advocacy missions to Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. She has also worked as an editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit and as a consultant for Human Rights Watch, and served on the governing Council (board) of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network from 2006–09 and 2015-19. She holds a PhD in Indian History from Cambridge University and a BA from Vassar College.


India’s case against Arundhati Roy is a big red flag for free speech
MSNBC, October 2023

Nobel Prize Winner Narges Mohammadi Has Endured Personal Sacrifice Few Can Imagine
Ms. Magazine, October 2023