The Association of American Publishers (AAP) awarded Jagriti Publishing House, Bangladesh, the 2020 AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award. Given annually, the award recognizes a book publisher outside the United States who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in defending freedom of expression. In bestowing this award, AAP has long been guided by the principle that if one of us is denied the right to publish, that threat affects us all.
“On behalf of AAP’s Board of Directors, member houses, and staff, I am honored to present this year’s International Freedom to Publish Award to Jagriti Publishing House,” commented Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers. “We congratulate Razia Rahman Jolly and everyone associated with Jagriti on their extraordinary commitment to promoting books, knowledge, and the open exchange of ideas.”
“Jagriti’s founder, Faisal Arefin Dipan, paid the ultimate price for having the audacity to exercise his fundamental right to publish,” said Terry Adams, Digital and Paperback Publisher, Little Brown and Company, and Chair, AAP Freedom to Publish Committee. “In the wake of his murder, Razia Rahman Jolly refused to be silenced, insisting that Jagriti would not only continue but expand its operations with a bookstore and cultural center dedicated to helping young people explore the world of books. To stand so bravely in the face of such ongoing danger, and to continue the fight in the wake of tragedy, is an example of extraordinary valor that deserves the respect and admiration of publishers and protectors of free speech the world over.”
“I am delighted on getting awarded with the 2020 'Jeri Laber Award' and express my heartfelt gratitude to the Association of American Publishers, its Board of Directors, member houses and staff,” commented Razia Rahman Jolly, accepting the award. “This award reminds me of the struggle and sacrifice of my late husband Faisal Arefin Dipan to promote and uphold the right of freedom of speech. After the brutal murder of Dipan, it was my commitment to myself and society that I must stand for the cause and decided I will leave no stones unturned to continue the activities of Jagriti publishing house against all odds. I express my gratitude to my family, friends and well wishers who extended their support in various forms during this period of struggle ultimately to uphold the right of lawful freedom of speech even being faced with adverse situations."
Faisal Arefin Dipan received a posthumous IPA Prix Voltaire Special Award in 2018 and, in July 2020, IPA led a crowdfunding campaign to support Jagriti and the cultural centre as it risked closure due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.