Global Freedom of Expression

21 October


Saudi Arabia: Impunity and the Silencing of Dissent

  • 5:30pm-7:00pm EST
  • Pulitzer Hall 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
    New York, NY

Leading experts on freedom of expression discuss Saudi Arabia’s ongoing crackdown on dissent and what can be done to hold the monarchy accountable for arrests, torture, and murder. This is part of the Index on Censorship college tour of campuses across the country talking about how free speech is for everyone.

Dr. Agnès Callamard is the Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression, an initiative seeking to advance understanding on freedom of expression global norms, and Special Adviser to the President of Columbia University and first amendment scholar Lee Bollinger. On August 1, 2016, she was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial summary or arbitrary executions. Dr. Callamard has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally.

Safa Al Ahmad is a journalist and filmmaker who has directed documentaries for PBS and the BBC focusing on uprisings in the Middle East. Her film Saudi’s Secret Uprising was the first documentary of its kind to document the historically unprecedented protests in the kingdom. Her writing on the Arab uprisings was published in an anthology Writing Revolutions published by Penguin, which won an English PEN award. Safa is a board member of the Frontline Freelance Register, and advocates for the safety and welfare of freelance journalists who are exposed to risk in their work.

Karin Deutsch Karlekar is the director of PEN America’s Free Expression At Risk Programs and leads PEN America’s assistance to individuals at risk as a result of their expression and an ongoing partnership with PEN Myanmar. She has almost two decades of experience in global free expression, press freedom, and digital rights issues, as well as advocacy and assistance work on behalf of writers, bloggers, and journalists.

This event is co-sponsored by PEN America, Index on Censorship, Global Freedom of Expression, the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, and the Columbia Journalism School.


  • Dr. Agnès Callamard, Director, Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression
  • Safa Al Ahmad, Journalist and Filmmaker; Winner of the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Journalism
  • Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director, PEN America’s Free Expression At Risk Programs