Frankfurt Book Fair saw Mahmoud Lotfy, the brother of this year’s Prix Voltaire laureate, Khaled Lotfy, address the IPA’s Open Freedom to Publish meetings, our General Assembly and a Freedom to Publish seminar alongside Ensaf Haidar, the wife of 2016 laureate, Raif Badawi. Burhan Sönmez also joined the open meeting and seminar to update us on the situation in Turkey, where 2017 laureates Evrensel and Turhan Günay are based. We also joined a vigil for 2018 laureate Gui Minhai.

FtP Seminar FBF Haidar Einarsson Lotfy Sönmez

Freedom to publish is one of the founding principles of the IPA. 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 compulsion. 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.

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

Individuals, groups or organizations can nominate; what matters most is the courage and the context of their nominee. Using the attached form, nominators should explain (preferably in English, please let us know if other languages are necessary) why their choice deserves the IPA Prix Voltaire and CHF 10,000 prize money. The recipient, to be selected by the IPA Freedom to Publish Committee, will be presented with the prize at the 33rd International Publishers Congress in Lillehammer, which runs from 28-30 May 2020.

Nominees will have recently published works despite pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment, whether from governments, other authorities or private interests. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record of upholding the values of freedom to publish and freedom of expression. For the purposes of the IPA Prix Voltaire, we define ‘publisher’ as an individual, collective or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms.

Please submit nominations by email to, and do encourage others to nominate as well.  The closing date for nominations is 10 January 2020.

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