Democracy PEN was established formally in December 2021 by a group of democracy activists from Afghanistan, most of whom have arrived in the US after the country fell into the hands of the Taliban group 2021— an incident that shocked the world and caused thousands of Afghans to skip the country in search of safety and freedom. Witnessing the loss of our democracy in the glimpse of an eye made us realize that democracy can be very fragile and, if not protected, can easily slide into majoritarianism, authoritarianism, and even the emergence of terrorist states such as the Taliban. Democracy PEN is our commitment to do our part in protecting our democracy worldwide and helping revive democracy where we lost it. Our primary scope of work
Democracy PEN is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to efforts to promote and protect democracy through fighting misinformation, human rights violations, and protecting vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and minorities, promoting free media and press. Together we can renew our democracy and protect it from those who would do it harm.
With our sister organization, The Khama Press News Agency, we advance democracy in South and Central Asia as a universal human aspiration and an enabler for peace, freedom, and sustainable development through the support of the media, human rights, women and youth empowerment, publication and blogging, and fighting disinformation and misinformation in the south and central Asia, including Afghanistan.
We believe that democracy is a universal human aspiration and an experience that is pursued and lived in different ways worldwide. It comes in multiple forms. These forms are in constant evolution. There is no single and universally applicable model of democracy. There is no end point in improving democracy. Fundamentally, democracy is a system in which the people control the government, and citizens are considered equals in exercising that control. Beyond the basic tenets of citizens’ choice and political equality, the critical decisions are best made, and the quality of democracy is best gauged by those directly concerned: the citizens themselves. We strive to nurture an open and pluralistic understanding of democracy. This is respectful of the national context and is in line with our non-prescriptive and non-intrusive approach, as well as with the priorities set by national actors.