Freedom to publish is one of the founding principles of the IPA. Its protection and promotion is one of IPA’s key objectives. In many countries, publishers who provide authors with the means to disseminate their written ideas run the same risks as the writers themselves. Their work requires immense courage and a values-based, altruistic commitment. The Freedom to Publish is far from guaranteed around the world, with daily attempts by governments, extremists or private interests to intimidate, attack, imprison and even kill publishers.

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: Our 2020 Freedom to Publish Report demonstrated the scale and range of challenges to the freedom to publish around the world. We want to celebrate and support those publishers who have put themselves at risk by bringing different and challenging ideas to readers.

Previous prize recipients include Vietnamese publishing house Liberal Publishing House (2020), Egyptian publisher Khaled Lotfy (2019), Swedish Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai (2018),Turkish publisher Turhan Günay and publishing house Evrensel (2017), Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (2016) and Belarusian publisher Ihar Lohvinau (2014). 


Who nominates whom?

Any individual, group or organization can nominate a publisher, defined as an individual, collective or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms. Nominees will have recently published controversial works amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record over many years of upholding the freedom to publish and freedom of expression.

Nominations are to be submitted by email using the application form to the IPA at


Key dates

The closing date for nominations is 20 June 2021, after which the nine publishing professionals that make up the IPA Freedom to Publish Committee will identify a longlist before agreeing on a shortlist and selecting the 2021 laureate. The IPA will announce the outcome in late 2021.


What’s the prize?

The recipient will receive 10,000 Swiss francs funded by a range of generous sponsors, which are listed below. To find out how you or your organization can support the IPA Prix Voltaire, please contact