World Press Freedom Day: Authors say protests help

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This book cover image released by Random House shows “Joseph Anton,” a memoir by Salman Rushdie. Joseph Anton was Rushdie’s alias when he was in hiding after Iran’s Ayotallah Khomeini called for his death for the alleged blasphemy of “The Satanic Verses.” AP/Random House

NEW YORK— Authors including Salman Rushie are appealing to China to live up to its own constitution and laws guaranteeing freedom of the press on World Press Freedom Day,

The most prominent among those imprisoned in China is Liu Xiaobo, the writer and human rights activist who received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Rushie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” offended Muslims worldwide. He had to move to the United States and live under guard for years due to death threats over the book, including a 1989 fatwa issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Rushdie says “These regimes do not like being highlighted.”

But he says that when groups like Pen International focus on a writer who has been imprisoned, 90 percent of them are freed within six months.

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