Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression and in particular freedom of artistic expression is a core principle for all authors including screenwriters.

In recent years, FSE has become increasingly concerned about erosions of this right. Attacks on Public Service Broadcasting and attempts to force media, both private and public, into subservience to political will, combined with inability to effectively regulate misinformation on social media, are raising complex questions about freedom of expression in ways which are not yet being adequately addressed.


Freedom of expression was at the core of the 4th World Conference of Screenwriters in Berlin in 2018 (WCOS 04).

In her introduction keynote, FSE president Carolin Otto said, about erosion of democracy and freedom of expression:

I keep asking myself constantly: what can I do? Apart from demonstrating in the streets and writing letters to politicians. We are writers. We invent the fictional narrative of societies. Our work is a powerful tool we have to use – even more in these times. We are responsible. It’s only together that we can move things.
Bringing you together in this conference makes me dream of a global voice of screenwriters. It is the writers duty to speak up, when the freedom of expression is endangered. Let’s do so. We will be heard. For Power, Freedom and Democracy.

The last panel of the conference was a vibrant and inspiring exchange of views and concerns about freedom of expression and speech around the world. Turkish journalist Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, living in exile in Germany, made a moving speech, followed by the testimony of Peter Verzilov and Veronika Nikulshina, members of the activist group Pussy Riot.

The screenwriters’ guilds, members of FSE and the International Association of Writers Guilds – IAWG, signed a final declaration:

At a time when writers are under daily attack, risking their lives to write the truth, when women writers are marginalised, we also see people and cultures threatened, abused, and denigrated. As writers’ guilds it is our most basic tenet that the only viable routes to both the power to control the conditions under which we create, and the freedom to create what we believe in, are solidarity and collective action.



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


The European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe

ARTICLE 10 Freedom of expression

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.


Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Article 11

Freedom of expression and information
1.   Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
2.   The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.



FSE is Strategic Partner of the ICFR – International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk



News on Freedom of Expression

European Audiovisual and Cultural Organisations Welcome the EU Parliament Adoption of its Position on the European Media Freedom Act


In a joint press release with various other European audiovisual and cultural organisations, we welcome the adoption by the European Parliament of its position on the European Media Freedom Act and much needed clarifications on its Article 20.

The Realities of Today’s Film Sector in Europe


Brussels-based associations representing the creative and film business sectors in Europe – including FSE and screenwriters – met in Cannes to discuss the realities of today’s film sector in Europe.



On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, FSE, in partnership with the French festival Série Series, looks back on 20 years of commitment through a collection of videos featuring the views of screenwriters engaged in FSE as presidents.

FSE president Carolin Otto addresses EU leaders on freedom of expression


In a letter to EU leaders, FSE president Carolin Otto expresses her deep concern about the erosion of democracy in some countries of Europe, the regular attacks on the rule of law of the European Union and the consequences for artistic freedom and freedom of the media.

Watch WCOS 04 Berlin


Watch the videos of the Fourth World Conference of Screenwriters in Berlin in October 2018. Panel discussions, interviews and workshops as if you were there!

A look back at WCOS 04


Highlights of WCOS 04, the Fourth World Conference of Screenwriters held in Berlin in October 2018: speeches, resolutions, videos, photos…

WCOS 04 Berlin – Press Release


Power & Freedom: the World Conference of Screenwriters 04 Unites International Screenwriters in Berlin on the 10th and 11th of October.

Screenwriters from the world, a tribute to Charlie Hebdo


Screenwriters and their guilds from the world concluded their meeting in Paris with a tribute to Charlie Hebdo.