Accidental Campaigners: Freedom to Publish Seminar

Ensaf Haidar

IPA held a freedom to publish seminar during Frankfurt Book Fair. Focussing on the relatives of detained publishers, the session featured Ensaf Haidar, the wife of Saudi blogger and IPA Prix Voltaire recipient, Raif Badawi. She continues to campaign for his release. You can also read here an exclusive interview with Angela Gui on her campaigning for her father. 

Moderated by Peter Craven of Deutsche Welle, Haidar, speaking through an interpreter spoke of her initial resentment of the moniker ‘activist’ and her role as the voice of her husband. She recognised the support of international organisations and the Canadian government and how this support gives her the strength to keep fighting for her husband’s freedom.

Throughout the conversation, Ensaf impressed the hushed audience with her strength and positive approach to the future release of her husband.

Kristenn Einarsson, the Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee outlined the work of the IPA and how it has to be flexible in how it works with local publishers’ associations and respecting the wishes of the families if there is a risk of worsening the situation of those detained.

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Angela Gui, the daughter of this year’s IPA Prix Voltaire recipient, Gui Minhai, was unable to attend the session due to illness. She did however answer a number of questions for the session which you can read here.
The session was held as part of Frankfurt Book Fair’s On the Same Page programme.

Alongside the seminar, the IPA also held an excellently attended Open Freedom to Publish Meeting where Marianne Hagen, the State Secretary from Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke about how Norway intends to use the opportunity of being Frankfurt Book Fair’s Guest of Honour in 2019 to promote freedom of expression. The participants also heard updates on the situation in South Korea and Bangladesh as well as information about the IPA’s Freedom to Publish work over the past year and what is planned for 2019.

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