PEN Statement on Wikileaks

Statement from PEN International on Wikileaks
December 10, 2010

PEN International champions the essential role played by freedom of expression in healthy societies and
the rights of citizens to transparency, information and knowledge.

The Wikileaks issue marks a significant turning point in the evolution of the media and the sometimes
conflicting principles of freedom of expression and privacy and security concerns. The culture of increasing
secrecy in governments and the rise of new technology will inevitably lead to an increasing number of
transparency issues of this sort. PEN International believes it is important to acknowledge that while the
leaking of government documents is a crime under U.S laws, the publication of documents by Wikileaks is
not a crime. Wikileaks is doing what the media has historically done.

PEN International urges those voicing opinions regarding the Wikileaks debate to adopt a responsible
tone, and not to play to the more extreme sections of society. In a world where journalists are regularly
physically attacked, imprisoned and killed with impunity, calling for the death of a journalist is
irresponsible and deplorable.

PEN International is also concerned by reports that some web sites, fearing repercussions, have stopped
carrying Wikileaks, and that individuals, under threat of legal action, have been warned against reading
information provided by the organization. PEN International condemns such acts and calls upon
corporations and states to avoid breaches of the right to free expression. Governments cannot call for
unlimited internet freedom in other parts of the world if they do not respect this freedom themselves.

The Wikileaks matter is a dynamic issue which we shall continue to monitor closely and on which we will
refine our position as the situation requires. We welcome this debate and look forward to further discussion
with the worldwide PEN membership.

PEN International, London