Survey Finds 85 Percent of US Writers Concerned About Government Surveillance

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2nd December 2013 12:58 - Central Government

The majority (85%) of US writers are worried about government surveillance of Americans, with three-quarters (73%) citing that they have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today, according to a survey from the PEN American Center and the FDR Group.

The report, which surveyed 528 PEN members in October, found that government spying, including surveillance by the National Security Agency, has had a serious effect on writers, some of whom are avoiding speaking about writing on controversial topics as a result.

According to the survey, four-fifths (81%) are very concerned about government efforts to force journalists to reveal sources of classified information, while another 15% are somewhat concerned. Three-quarters (76%) think increased government surveillance is especially harmful to writers because it imposes upon the privacy they need, while a third (33%) have steered clear of certain topics in personal phone conversations or email correspondence.

Additionally the survey found that among writers, three tenths (28%) refrained from conducting internet searchers or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious.

According to the report:

“Writers are self-censoring their work and their online activity due to their fears that commenting on, researching, or writing about certain issues will cause them harm.”

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