Freedom of publishing

Advocacy and communiqués

Solidarity with Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh), August 8, 2018

STATEMENT
August 8, 2018

The International Alliance of Independent Publishers (IAIP), a network of 553 publishers worldwide, expresses its shock and dismay at the late-night abduction and detention of acclaimed photographer and human rights activist, Shahidul Alam, in Dhaka. Shahidul Alam has been a partner-colleague of the IAIP, in which context we have interacted with him on many occasions.

We believe that the charges against him under Section 57 of the ICT are an attempt to intimidate him by using a draconian law to stifle his right to free speech. He has been held without due legal process, and we have received disturbing reports of brutal treatment meted out to him in detention.

The right of peaceful protest, and the defence of that right, are fundamental to democracy and to upholding the rule of law. The IAIP extends its support to, and expresses solidarity with, Shahidul Alam, and reiterates its commitment to the freedom of expression in Bangladesh as well as in the rest of the world.

See here the film make by New Internationalist (UK) in support with Shahidul Alam.

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What freedom of publishing for independent publishers ? Study initiated and coordinated by the Alliance, 2018-2019

An unprecedented study to be published in September 2019, initiated and coordinated by the Alliance !

A sociological survey conducted by Anne-Marie Voisard, Quebec researcher (MA on strategic lawsuits against public participation and legal repression of freedom of speech from the University of Montréal) ; a historical introduction by Jean-Yves Mollier, French historian.

Since the creation of the Alliance, publishers – custodians of freedom of speech alongside journalists, authors, bloggers, booksellers, artists… – have been the whistleblowers on instances of censorship occurring in some countries. Over the past few years, we have noticed some new forms of attack on freedom of speech. In several contexts, pressures and limitations exercised on public speech are increasing. After the wave of freedom expected during the revolutions in the Arab world, the series of attacks in Africa, Europe, and in the Arab world, destabilised freedom of speech : a loss of sense, of bearings that brings us to question spaces of freedom, the reach of words and the power of the medium.

The freedom of publishing is a “category” of freedom of speech that can take different forms through various supports. The freedom of publishing pertains to the liberty to choose an author, to select or commission manuscripts, publish them, disseminate and distribute them, and put them on the market – all these activities are at the heart of publishers’ work. The threats to the freedom of publishing are precisely what the Alliance seeks to examine in this study.

In different geopolitical contexts, threatened by different forms of censorship, the Alliance’s independent publishers are committed to circulate texts and ideas, to amplify voices, even if sometimes they are in minority, to participate in building critical thinking and emancipation. It is their responsibility, both professional and civic.

Read here the presentation of the study, of the authors, the methodology...

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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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Looking for an author : study - “What freedom of publishing for independent publishers ?”

Call for proposal – looking for an author

The Alliance aims to produce an unprecedented study about freedom of publishing, listening to independent publishers about the following questions :
• What are the different infringements of freedom of publishing that independent publishers confront in their countries ?
• How do they face these threats in their daily professional life ?
• How do the publishers resist, preserve, and defend their freedom of publishing ? How do they circumvent censorship ?
• Are publishers more vulnerable today than they used to be ? Have there been some significant changes in recent years ?
• From the point of view of the publishers, is there a limit to freedom of publishing (and freedom of expression) ?
The study will be written in French. If you are interested in conducting this study, please send your proposal to the Alliance team before 13 March 2017.}

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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 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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Solidarity with Iranian publishers, August 2009

Pays de parution : Iran

In view of the worrying situation in Iran and the attacks on freedom of expression, the publishers of the Alliance wish to express their solidarity with their Iranian colleagues. They demand the right to publish freely and call for increased cultural and editorial exchanges with Iran.

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Freedom of publishing under threat in Canada ?, April 2008

An incredible censorship attempt is endangering the very existence of the publisher Écosociété (Quebec – Canada) ; more than 60 publishers from 30 countries have declared their undivided support for the Quebec publisher and are calling on the pinstigators of the “Noir Canada” affair to respect the rights of freedom of expression and publication.

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