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Canadian and other authors condemn Russian restrictions on free expression

Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje join long list urging for laws’ repeal

More than 200 writers from countries around the world have joined Pen International's campaign to push for free expression in Russia. Credit: pen-international.org

A group of authors, including Canadians Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, published an open letter Feb 6 asking Russian authorities to repeal laws restricting free expression.

“As writers and artists, we cannot stand quietly by as we watch our fellow writers and journalists pressed into silence or risking prosecution and often drastic punishment for the mere act of communicating their thoughts,” they write.

“We therefore urge the Russian authorities to repeal these laws that strangle free speech, to recognize Russia’s obligations under the international covenant on civil and political rights to respect freedom of opinion, expression and belief — including the right not to believe — and to commit itself to creating an environment in which all citizens can experience the benefit of the free exchange of opinion.”