Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tehran book fair imperiled by hardliners

Efforts of Iranian hardliners to prevent independent publishers from having contacts with their foreign counterparts is bringing the prestitigous annual Tehran book fair to the brink of collapse, reports Index on Censorship. The fair, scheduled for May, is one of the biggest in Asia, with about two million visitors a year. This time, Iranian authorities plan to separate the fair in half, with domestic publishers at a location at one end of the city and foreign publishers at another location at the other end. Some domestic publishers have already withdrawn.

The International Publishes Association has said the separation would mean that "international publishers would see no point in participating in the Book Fair as exchange with our Iranian colleagues would be hindered." Index on Censorship notes:

"The dispute comes at a sensitive time for publishing in Iran. All new books have to go past the censors and final proofs and bound books cleared by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance before distribution. Even if publication of a translated book is approved, the text is often so changed by censorship that it is unrecognisable to a bilingual reader who has read the original."

Source: Index on Censorship/Rohan Jayasekera, April 4.

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