AirTalk for December 24, 2013

Writers self-censor in response to NSA surveillance concerns

Steve Rhodes via Flickr Creative Commons

Writer Dave Eggers is among those concerned about NSA spying.

Writers are silencing their thoughts for fear of  their work being misinterpreted by the government in the wake of the National Security Agency spying allegations.

According to a new survey by the PEN American Center, 88 percent of members are troubled by the NSA's surveillance program. 24 percent of those surveyed now avoid certain topics in email and phone conversations, while 16 percent have  abandoned projects entirely.

Will the self-censorship of writers cause a decrease in the intellectual output of America? Do writers have a responsibility to brave dangerous waters to discuss topics that need to be heard? Or are these writers simply overreacting to something that might be an inevitable new fact of life in the US?


Deji Olukotun, Freedom to Write Fellow at PEN

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