Corruption; the control of the media; impunity; censorship and its counterpart self-censorship; the role and responsibilities of a writer as citizen; and the vital importance that freedom of expression plays in challenging the status quo. At ‘Free The Word!’, an event held on 30 January 2014 at Hay Festival Cartagena, writers and journalists from across Latin America discussed these topics in order to explore the relationship between creation, literature and the State.
Speaking at the event were Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández, Honduran journalist and human rights defender Dina Meza and Cuban writer Jorge Ángel Pérez, with Colombian journalist María Jimena Duzán moderating.
Hernández and Meza both described their countries, Mexico and Honduras respectively, as failed states, incapable of defending their citizens and the journalists who try to inform them about their violent realities. For Hernández, her need to live with bodyguards was one of the most shameful and obvious signs that freedom of expression does not exist.
Both women stated that the work of PEN and other international organisations had helped protect them and allowed them to continue their work.