Advocacy actions

Censorship against independent publishing house Txalaparta (Basque Country), 1 March 2018

Publishers from the Alliance condemn the banning of the book El desarme, la vía vasca d’Iñaki Egaña (copublished by Txalaparta, Gara journal, and Mediabask media), during its promotion on Basque radio-television.

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Frankfurt in French : Call for more coherence towards a strengthened bibliodiversity

As the Frankfurt Book Fair (11-15 October 2017) opens in a few weeks’ time, with a special focus on France and French languages, the International Alliance of independent publishers takes the opportunity to revisit some key issues for independent publishers and bibliodiversity, as expressed by 400 publishers from 50 countries, in the International Declaration of independent publishers of 2014.

France wished, in the context of Frankfurt’s invitation, to provide a space for publishers from the South and we are grateful for this opportunity. We hope this openness will contribute towards meaningful networking, discussion, and exchanges among Francophone publishers. These mutual trust and interest, at the heart of the Alliance, have indeed proven themselves over the past 15 years, leading to unprecedented co-publishing and translation projects between continents.

However, other aspects of “Frankfurt in French” are counterintuitive to this dynamic. Book donation initiatives from France to Africa are indeed planned in Frankfurt this year. More specifically, the 30 000 books to be displayed in the French Pavilion will be distributed to foreign countries after Frankfurt – and this while some twenty African publishers are invited to participate in the Fair, in an “African/Haiti” stand. As mentioned in several reports and in the Frankfurt programme (see here), book donations, while underpinned by good intentions, can disrupt the local book economy.

We therefore call on the accountability of each involved — public authorities, associations, and professionals, for these donations to be made in close collaboration with participating African publishers, but also in consultation with local African booksellers. These are the basic conditions for balanced and respectful exchanges in the actors’ respective environments.

It is critical to rethink book donation. Encouraging and supporting sustainable and fair editorial partnerships must be a priority.

We hope that the readiness to showcase Francophonie’s diversity and plurality in Frankfurt will be paralleled with constructive actions by public authorities, both in the North and South. It is indeed essential for political will to accompany a change of perspective and relations among Francophone countries.

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Solidarity with the Mexicans, 22 September 2017

On 21 September, all around the world, we have celebrated the International Day of Bibliodiversity. Meantime, in Mexico, the terrible earthquake occurred 2 days before, on 19 September, turning streets into dust, causing victims, hundreds and hundreds of roofless people…

The International Alliance of independent publishers expresses –in these days of celebration of cultural diversity, ideas and texts flows– its solidarity with the Mexicans.

The Association of Mexican independent publishers (AEMI), member of the Alliance, proposes to collect Latin-American books to offer especially to children and young Mexicans –so that their imaginations do not focus on this disaster, and that stories and words coming from abroad can help them in these painful moments.

This is also bibliodiversity : be careful about the surrounding world, keep awake and conscious, in solidarity.

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Call for freedom of speech and publishing in Turkey, 22 August 2016

The International Alliance of independent publishers demands that Turkish authorities immediately release publishers, authors and journalists currently detained. It is necessary to guarantee freedom of speech and publishing in Turkey. The Alliance joins the Turkish Publishers Association’s condemnation of the summary closure of publishing houses and media as a clear human rights violation, and urges the Turkish authorities to rescind those summary closures.

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Call for freedom of speech and publishing in Bangladesh, November 2015

Extract from the Communiqué by the Alliance for a call for freedom of speech and publishing in Bangladesh, 10 November 2015 :

For several months, authors, bloggers, publishers and booksellers have been the victims of violent and deadly attacks in Bangladesh.

The International Alliance of independent publishers, representing 400 independent publishers from 45 countries in the world, condemns these murderous attacks and assault on freedom of speech and publishing. The Alliance also reaffirms the essential role needing to be played by public authorities, in Bangladesh and throughout the world to enable the emancipation of its citizens, and to guarantee a public space conducive to dialogue and peace. Plurality and diversity of ideas constitute the foundation of democracy. It is urgent that the Bangladeshi government protects and supports actors in the book industry, thus safeguarding the foundations necessary for their work and freedom of speech.

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Communiqué from the Alliance on the Tunis meetings, 27 May 2011

Pays de parution : Tunisie

15 publishers from 8 countries (Algeria, Argentina, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria) met in Tunis, from 12 to 15 May 2011, to discuss e-publishing. The meeting was organised by the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, with the support of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

The publishers who met in Tunis wished it to be known that these meetings took place in a peaceful and secure environment. The warm welcome we were given, despite the curfew then in place, enabled us to organise meetings of a high standard, from both a professional and a human perspective.

We wished to show our solidarity with our Tunisian partners in this way, by inviting associations, NGOs, organisations and institutions, tourists and the simply curious to rediscover Tunisia – a Tunisia where freedom is in the air.

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Communiqué from the Tunisian Publishers’ Union, 21 January 2011

Pays de parution : Tunisie

Extract from the Tunisian Publishers’ Union’s communiqué, published on 21 January 2011

« The Tunisian Publishers’ Union, whose members met on Friday, 21 January, congratulates the Tunisian people, is proud of its glorious revolution and pays tribute to its martyrs, while declaring its unwavering support for the popular resistance ».

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Communiqué in support of Txalaparta Publishing following attacks on « El manual del torturador español » and on freedom of expression, December 2010

Paris, December 2010

It is with great concern that the International Alliance of Independent Publishers has noted the recent censorship of a book in Spain, and the threats made against the independent publishing house Txalaparta, member of the Alliance’s Spanish-speaking network.

The book in question, « El manual del torturador español » (The Spanish Torturer’s Manual) – by Xabier MAKAZAGA denounces the torture carried out by the Spanish police. The book was withdrawn from a public library (in the Basauri town council), following a request by a political party and certain Madrid newspapers to remove it from all libraries where it was made available to readers. However the practices described in this book support the accusations already made in reports by Amnesy International and by the UN Recorder on Human Rights. The campaign against this book has already been publicly denounced by public librarians. Furthermore the Basque Country Human Rights Observer (Behatokia) sent a letter of protest to Frank de la Rue, Special Recorder on Human Rights and Freedom of Expression with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose headquarters are in Geneva.

The International Alliance of independent publishers, whose objectives include defending freedom of expression and denouncing all forms of censorship, also has a duty to respond publicly when attacks or infringements are directed – for ideological reasons – against independent publishers, whose very job it is to encourage the dissemination of ideas and to contribute to forging the identity of people and their culture.

One has only to examine Txalaparta’s publishing catalogue to appreciate the vast range of literary works and essays which constitute an undeniable contribution to bibliodiversity, while reflecting a clear editorial policy.

This is why we independent publishers are appealing to the Spanish authorities to respect the work of independent publishers and to encourage respect for fundamental rights and democracy.

We also appeal to independent publishers, booksellers, librarians and readers to follow the development of this matter closely and to express their support to Txalaparta Publishing in order to defend and respect the right to information that is true and diverse.


The Spanish-language network of the International Alliance of independent publishers

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Preferential postage rates for books : urgent for Latin America, August 2010

Massively used by small publishing firms to distribute their products to bookstores, libraries, and readers, the postal service is the most popular means of circulating books throughout the world. However, the absence, suppression or questioning of special postage for books is an impediment to bibliodiversity in many countries.
In Latin America, with a huge territory to cover and limited circulation, a large share of publishers ensures the delivery of their products themselves. For these publishers, preferential postage rates for shipping books are all the more vital.

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Haiti, let’s mobilise for the long haul, February 2010

The International Alliance of Independent Publishers calls on all international solidarity organisations to mobilise in Haiti. The Alliance will do do its outmost to support Haitian book professionals in the long-term, particularly librarians, publishers and booksellers, by joining forces with existing and future stakeholders in Haiti.

The importance of culture should be considered in the reconstruction process. In the Haïtian context, where symbolism has a special place, reinventing Haïti also involves supporting the arts and culture, particularly books and authors that promote the people’s complex and fascinating identity. A people cut off from its culture is a dead people.

Rodney Saint-Éloi, author and publisher member of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers

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