Margie Orford and an Interview with American PEN

12 Nov 2011

Margie Orford was interviewed by PEN America about free expression in South Africa:

FREEDOM TO WRITE: Can you tell us a little about South African PEN and some of the issues you’re facing?

MARGIE ORFORD: South African PEN has been going since 1960. In the ’90s we were very focused on encouraging new and emerging literature through annual and bi-annual short story competitions judged by John Coetzee. In the last couple of years, we’ve shifted direction primarily in response to a number of very restrictive pieces of legislation aimed at the media, such as the Media Appeals Tribunal—which promotes the idea that freedom of the press is not an absolute right—and the Protection of Information Bill—or as we call it, the Secrecy Act—both of which directly contradict South Africa’s constitution, one of the few constitutions in the world which expressly guarantees freedom of expression. Read more