The International Publishers Association calls on the South African State Security Agency (SSA) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to stop their attempts to withdraw from circulation and censor Jacques Pauw’s book The President’s Keepers.
Mr Pauw is a journalist of some standing in South Africa, perhaps best remembered for exposing apartheid security forces who assassinated freedom fighters. The IPA unreservedly supports Mr Pauw’s right to publish this work of investigative journalism which exposes evidence of wide-scale financial mismanagement, fraud and corruption within South Africa’s government. And the IPA also praises the bravery of the publishers of Mr Pauw’s book, NB Publishers, in standing firm with their author.
‘The actions of the SSA and SARS are clearly meant to harass and intimidate Mr Pauw and his publisher. This is the kind of behaviour reminiscent of the old apartheid regime in South Africa and the cruel irony cannot be lost on anyone observing these shameful actions,’ said Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee.
‘The IPA stands in solidarity with Mr Pauw, NB Publishers and the Publishers Association of South Africa. We call on the South African government to stop these crude and ham-fisted attempts at censorship and instead unequivocally support the freedom to publish and freedom of expression in the country,’ Mr Einarsson said.
Mr Mpuka Radinku, the Executive Director of the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), said, ‘The South African authorities will do well to avoid being perceived as intolerant of different opinions and undermining the rights of authors and publishers to express themselves freely. This could be seen as a betrayal of the vision of a post-apartheid South Africa that the international community had welcomed. PASA calls upon the authorities in South Africa to support free speech by providing the necessary conditions for authors and publishers to produce critical and innovative knowledge that advances society and helps the country develop further.
‘We are appalled that the State Security Agency is trying to suppress freedom of expression through intimidation and threats of a cease-and-desist letter as a means to shield the government from embarrassing revelations,’ Mr Radinku said.