The 2022 IPA Prix Voltaire laureate, Same Sky Publishing, was announced on 22 November. Same Sky was founded in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2002 by three ex-student activists, Thanapol Eawsakul, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, and Chaithawat Tulatol. The publishing house focuses on political activism and publishes academic journals and books in social science and the humanities, mainly from a critical perspective.
IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi opened the ceremony at the Gala Dinner in Jakarta, saying: Our support for the freedom to publish should be equal to that of reading and literacy. For millions and millions of children and people in different parts of the world, publishers’ work may be the only chance they have between a life of dignity and possibilities and a life of poverty and marginalization.
The IPA Prix Voltaire was awarded to co-founder Thanapol Eawsakul on behalf of Same Sky. As Same Sky’s executive editor, Eawsakul has had to endure monitoring by state officials attempting to persecute him for sedition. In his acceptance speech, he spoke about the exceptional challenges that publishers face in Thailand and the role of Same Sky in promoting the freedom to publish.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: Same Sky Publishing is a perfect example of a publisher demonstrating their bravery by standing up to intimidation and continuing to publish works they believe in.
Receiving the prize, Eawsakul, thanked all of the Same Sky colleagues past and present who had been part of the publishing house’s journey over the last two decades and spoke of his experiences as a publisher in Thailand. He noted the challenges created by the legal framework in Thailand and how defamation lawsuits can have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.