Free Word

Free Word (Vapaa sana) is an online writing series published by Finnish PEN. We publish poetry, prose, essays and articles mainly by our members but also texts written by writers whose freedom of expression is endangered. Free Word is also a platform for texts discussing timely freedom of expression topics. If you wish your text to be published in the series send it to For the full series, click:

Matteo Stocchetti: Freedom of expression is not enough

To strengthen democracy, we need communicative competences. The idea that freedom of expression is one of the fundamental democratic freedoms...

/ 3 April 2024
kirjailija Laura Lindstedt

Laura Lindstedt: The writer’s freedom of expression in a world dominated by spectacle

What comes to mind from the words “writer’s freedom of expression”? Do you think of imprisoned, exiled or murdered writers,...

/ 28 February 2024
Saamen lippu lipputangossa kuvattuna sinistä taivasta vasten.

Oula-Antti Labba: The decade of indigenous languages is also significant for freedom of expression

The Sámi indigenous peoples celebrate their National Day on 6 February. At the same time the decade of indigenous languages...

/ 6 February 2024
Janne Huuskonen

Janne Huuskonen: The authorities must respect the law

Freedom of expression allows criticism of those in power. Politicians have a broad right to freedom of expression, perhaps even...

/ 1 February 2024
Romahtanut silta Kiovassa

Peter Mickwitz: A trip to Ukraine

The last week of October I travelled to Kyiv, Ukraine together with representatives for the Nordic PEN centres, PEN Berlin,...

/ 22 November 2023
Vera Politkovskajan kirja Äitini

Iida Simes: Let us see hope

The murder of Anna Politkovskaya (30.8.1958 – 7.10.2006) was immediately widely noticed by the media worldwide. The murderer shot Politkovskaya...

/ 4 November 2023
Pirita Näkkäläjärvi saamenpuvussa Eduskuntatalon edustalla

Pirita Näkkäläjärvi: Hate Speech and Indigenous People Sámi

Freedom of speech of indigenous peoples and hate speech towards indigenous peoples has not been widely studied. Academic literature on...

/ 6 February 2023
Suomen PENin johtokunnan jäsen Joy Hyvärinen

Joy Hyvärinen: Artistic freedom of expression

Questions related to freedom of expression can be controversial and challenging. Artistic freedom of expression can be especially challenging. Art...

/ 26 January 2023
Ukrainalainen toimittaja Nataliya Teramae

Nataliya Teramae: The Shell of a Snail

Read the Essay by Nataliya Teramae in Ukrainian. When you emigrate to a foreign country, you automatically start looking for...

/ 9 November 2022
Suomen PENin johtokunnan jäsen Joy Hyvärinen

Joy Hyvärinen: Does Finland need a commission on freedom of expression?

The freedom of expression commission appointed by the Norwegian government in 2020 has recently published its report (read the report...

/ 29 August 2022
Suomen PENin puheenjohtaja Peter Mickwitz kirjahyllyn edessä

Peter Mickwitz: Örnulf Tigerstedt, right-wing radical and president of PEN Finland

Panem et Circenses. Let me toast to your freedom your eight-hour workday, your cultivated soul, your progress and your other...

/ 20 August 2022
Judyth Hill

Judyth Hill: Wage peace

Author and active PEN International member Judyth Hill is visiting Finland’s PEN 5-11.5. In addition to his commitment to freedom...

/ 6 May 2022
Suomen PENin johtokunnan jäsen Joy Hyvärinen

Joy Hyvärinen: Freedom of expression, limits and forgotten groups

It can be challenging to defend freedom of expression. You have to be ready to also defend the right of...

/ 19 April 2022
Nataliya Teramae kesäisessä järvimaisemassa

Nataliya Teramae: How we brought up a dictator

Artists do have the gift of prophesying. For Ulf Stark’s book ‘The Dictator’ Linda Bondestam created a picture of a...

/ 31 March 2022
Suomen PENin johtokunnan jäsen Joy Hyvärinen

Joy Hyvärinen: Controversial copyright law on its way

Finland, like other EU countries, needs to change its legislation to take account of the EU’s new copyright directive (DSM...

/ 8 October 2021

Samay Hamed: For the last American soldier

For the last American soldier: Goodbye General Greet your daughter from the girls of Kabul Tell her about the colorful...

/ 1 September 2021
Kansainvälisen Valko-Venäjän kulttuuriviikon punavalkoinen logo

Siarhej Budkin: 35 000 shots in 10 months

Shot 1 The border between two countries. A plot of land in the borderland is well ploughed to see whether...

/ 5 July 2021
Turmenistanilais-ruotsalaisen kirjailija Ak Welsaparin kasvokuva

Ak Welsapar: Love in Lilac

A novella The sun rose higher and in the lilac garden everything was painfully familiar. Arslan had only to close...

/ 24 June 2021
Pilapiirtäjä Kianoush Ramezani seisoo ulkona silmä kiinni taustallaan sininen taivas, jolla on muutamia vaaleita pilviä

Kianoush Ramezani: Freedom after Expression: a new challenge

In 2006, I was invited to give a speech about Muhammad Cartoons and freedom of speech, at the Central European...

/ 24 November 2020
Puertoricolainen Alejandro Diaz on kuvan vasemmassa laidassa hattu päässään.

Ale Díaz: My Odyssey in the Migration System

My name is Alejandro Díaz Ortiz, I am a Puerto Rican artist, musician, songwriter, graphic designer and a filmmaker who...

/ 14 October 2020