The writer Salman Rushdie (“Satanic Verses”) sees freedom of the press and freedom of expression currently in danger in many countries. “These are bad times for free opinion,” said Rushdie on Friday evening during a joint appearance with the Italian writer Roberto Saviano at the Turin Book Fair. He expressly referred to the situation in Italy, his home country India and the USA, where he has been at home for the past decades.

Rushdie pointed out that such intimidation attempts were not a new experience. He himself was sued by the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi more than 35 years ago because of his first novel “Midnight Children”. Now former US President Donald Trump repeatedly calls journalists “enemies of the people.” “These are wars that we thought we had already won. And now we have to fight them again. So we are fighting them again.”

“Take the risk. Speak up”

Writers and journalists should not be impressed by such methods, warned Rushdie, who has been under police protection since the 1990s because of a call for murder against him from Iran. Despite everything, his advice is: “Take the risk. Speak up.” Saviano, who became known for his books against the mafia, is also under almost constant surveillance. He essentially left the appearance with asking questions.

Rushdie presented his new book “Knife” in Turin, in which he deals with an attack on him in the USA in 2022. At that time he was critically injured by a man with a knife. However, the 76-year-old was determined not to change his life because of this. “I still have two good decades ahead of me. We’re already planning the party for my 100th birthday,” he joked. The search for a good DJ is already underway.