6 Feb 2014

Authors' letter condemns anti-gay law

9:08 pm on 6 February 2014

More than 200 leading authors have signed an open letter to Russia condemning what they see as curbs on freedom of expression imposed by recently enacted anti-gay and blasphemy laws.

Writing in the Britain's Guardian newspaper just two days before the Winter Olympics in Sochi begin, the writers say they cannot remain quiet while authors and journalists in the country are pressured to stay silent.

The letter is timed for maximum impact - just as the world's eyes turn toward Sochi and the Games, the BBC reports.

The 200 eminent authors from over 30 countries strongly criticise the Russian authorities for creating a climate of fear among writers and journalists in Russia.

The letter singles out not only the law, which so many have criticised for discriminating against gay people, but also blasphemy laws against religious insult and the recriminalisation of defamation.

The writers call on the authorities to repeal them and create an environment where all can exchange of opinions freely.