Publishing is a powerful mechanism by which humanity has for centuries circulated works of the mind, information, ideas, beliefs and opinions. Many international treaties and declarations* enshrine freedom of expression as an inalienable human right and affirm media freedom as fundamental to liberty.
Human rights are safeguards of human dignity, and unhindered access to multiple information sources is a prerequisite for diversity, creativity, prosperity, tolerance and progress. Freedom of expression is the basis for the creation of works of the mind; for publishers, it forms both the creative and economic foundation of their profession.
The IPA believes that the unique contribution of publishers to enabling freedom of expression, debate and dialogue by disseminating the works of others deserves distinct recognition and protection.
The IPA is committed to defending and promoting the freedom to publish, which is under siege worldwide today. The IPA Statutes declare that the first Object of the Association is:
‘To uphold and defend the right of publishers to publish and distribute works of the mind in complete freedom, provided that in so doing they respect all legal rights attached to these works within their own countries and internationally. It is the duty of the Association to oppose steadfastly any attempt or threat to restrict that freedom’.
It is the task of the IPA’s permanent Freedom to Publish Committee to manage the association’s work in this field by implementing programmes and activities in partnership with member associations, international organizations, and other non-governmental organizations.
The IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee does this by:
HELPING OUR MEMBERS TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM TO PUBLISH
We support our members through legal advice and direct lobbying when laws that threaten freedom to publish are proposed. We do this in concert with an extensive network of international non-governmental organizations.
CHALLENGING VIOLATIONS OF FREEDOM TO PUBLISH
We raise the alarm when publishers and writers are in danger and we support them when they face wrongful prosecution. We liaise with global fora, such as relevant United Nations agencies, to ensure the collective voice of publishers resonates in the freedom of expression arena.
DRIVING DIALOGUE ON FREEDOM TO PUBLISH
We lead or support international engagements and conferences to raise the visibility of freedom to publish and foster continuous international conversation about this underrepresented area of freedom of expression advocacy. We coordinate our lobbying efforts with an extensive network of nongovernmental organizations.
CELEBRATING FREEDOM TO PUBLISH CHAMPIONS
We award the annual IPA Prix Voltaire, which honours the courage of publishers who defy their would-be silencers and enable writers to exercise their freedom of expression.
*They can be found in numerous international conventions including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Article 13 of American Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 32 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights.