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The International Publishers Association has thrown its full support behind US publisher Macmillan and its CEO, John Sargent, for their firm stand in the face of pressure from United States President Donald Trump to halt publication of Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump White House.
The IPA sees Trump’s attempt to stop publication of Wolff’s book as a new and worrying development for the USA, a longstanding bastion of freedom of expression. Although it is clear that the US Constitution protects Wolff and his publisher, it is of grave concern when a US President seeks to interfere in the publication of a book, as he has in this case. It demonstrates the importance of a strong legal framework that enshrines freedom of expression as fundamental to democracy.
José Borghino, Secretary General of the IPA said: “It is a sad irony to see the so-called leader of the free world trying to limit freedom to publish. The US has always been a beacon of freedom of expression around the world and we stand unequivocally with John Sargent and Macmillan publishers in their refusal to bow to this pressure.”
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish committee said: “Freedom to Publish is an essential part of any democracy but it is a fragile thing in some places in the world. We need to be eternally vigilant about unexpected threats like this, and support those who stand firm in the face of intimidation.”
The IPA’s annual Prix Voltaire celebrates the bravery of publishers who have upheld the freedom to publish. The joint winners of the 2017 award were the Turkish publisher and journalist Turhan Gürnay and the Turkish publishing house Evrensel. The winner of the 2018 Prix Voltaire will be announced at the IPA Congress in New Delhi on 10-14 February.