Slovenian PEN Center Elects Assange as Honorary Member

The PEN Center in Slovenia has elected imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as an honorary member, calling him the “bravest journalist and publicist of the last two decades.”

Julian Assange in his years of freedom.

While PEN America’s director Suzanne Nossel is repeating every smear against Julian Assange and “is helping to uncoil the rope to string up the WikiLeaks publisher, a gross betrayal of the core mission of PEN,” according to journalist Chris Hedges, the PEN Center in Slovenia has elected him as an honorary member.

PEN, ‘Poets, Essayists, Novelists’ (later broadened to ‘Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists’), was founded in London in 1921. Here is the declaration of the Slovenian PEN Center:

On the first Monday of the new year 2022, the members of the Board of Directors of the Slovenian PEN Center unanimously elected Julian Assange as an honorary member of our center. We decided to take this step for two reasons: first, in the hope that, in addition to German and international support, our support will help Assange in his legal case, and second, because Julian Assange is the bravest journalist and publicist of the last two decades. He is professionally paying an extremely high price. To imprison someone just because he published the truth is contrary to all democratic arrangements based on freedom of speech and journalism as the fourth branch of government.

Julian Assange’s main fault is that he exposed the hypocrisy of world democracies with his posts on Wikileaks, especially when they are waging wars in foreign countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. In today’s language, his “calvary” with the democratic courts is undoubtedly a typical example of SLAPP, strategic lawsuits to prevent public participation. When we condemn the prosecution of Julian Assange, we condemn the prosecution of every journalist and publicist in the world, including Slovenians, when they find themselves under pressure from influential people who want to conceal the truth.

The European Commission, led by President Ursula von der Leyen and Vice-President Vera Jourova, has made freedom and independence of the media one of the most important goals of a democratic Europe in the Action Plan for European Democracy. Freedom of the press is to be specifically regulated by a new law on media freedom, which will go into effect in the autumn of 2022. Hopefully, it will protect all writers and whistleblowers.

We fear that for Julian Assange, marriage and with it the awareness of freedom of speech will come too late. In any case, prosecution ruined his life and deprived him of his basic human rights. And that’s just because he published the truth.

A democracy that suppresses the truth is certainly not a real democracy.

Tanja Tuma

President of the Slovenian PEN Center

Board of Directors of the Slovenian PEN Center

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8 comments for “Slovenian PEN Center Elects Assange as Honorary Member

  1. Joe Wallace
    January 13, 2022 at 15:39

    “A democracy that suppresses the truth is certainly not a real democracy.”

    Exactly. If the truth is damaging, the truth must be kept secret. The persecution of Julian Assange underscores that the United States is an oligarchic national security state whose legitimacy is threatened by transparency.

  2. January 12, 2022 at 15:35

    I was a member of the PEN Board for 20 years, till 1994. I have repeatedly emailed PEN officials to ask why they don’t mount a national campaign in support of Julian Assange. I have never received a reply. That may be because the PEN “CEO” Suzanne Nossel (she replaced the long-standing title “executive director” with CEO, indicating her preference for the corporate world against the culture of nonprofits) is a former State Dept official. Alas, PEN America now follows the orders of the U.S. government.

  3. A. M. Maidich
    January 12, 2022 at 08:59

    Canadian Daughter of Slovene parents…. i am VERY proud of Slovenia to take such action…. I agree, journalists and others that tell/write the truth, should not be punished but honored and encouraged to tell what is going on behind ‘closed’ doors…. especially in politics and governments.

  4. rosemerry
    January 12, 2022 at 02:09

    This certainly is heartening, but late and of course the “democracies” like USA/UK ignore any attempt to tell the truth. The mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize last year going to people perpetrating the opposite of truth and fairness indicates how low the “free world” has sunk, to the detriment of all of the rest of us.

  5. Boba
    January 11, 2022 at 23:11

    Bravo za Sloveniju! Bravo!

  6. Andrew Thomas
    January 11, 2022 at 18:41


  7. Andrew Nichols
    January 11, 2022 at 16:26

    Where was this support in the past? A bit late now.

    • Robert Sinuhe
      January 11, 2022 at 20:47

      At least it’s there.

Comments are closed.