Freedom of expression and freedom to publish are human rights under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet freedom to publish is under continuous, sustained daily attack, with writers and publishers vilified, jailed, tortured and killed merely for doing their jobs. In 2005, the IPA created the Freedom to Publish Prize to honour a person or organization adjudged to have made a significant contribution to the defence and promotion of freedom to publish in the world. In 2016, the prize was renamed the IPA Prix Voltaire, in tribute to the French philosopher and writer François-Marie Arouet (penname Voltaire), who propounded a doctrine of tolerance and free expression before the terms were in general use. Moreover, between 1755 and 1759 Voltaire lived in Geneva, Switzerland, where the IPA is based, before moving to the nearby French border town of Ferney, which was renamed Ferney-Voltaire in his honour after the French Revolution.
The IPA Prix Voltaire currently consists of CHF 10,000 and a certificate, presented by the IPA President during the biennial International Publishers Congress.
The IPA Prix Voltaire is possible thanks to generous contributions from the following sponsors:
- Albert Bonniers Förlag
- Oxford University Press
- Penguin Random House
- Simon & Schuster
- Springer Nature
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