The IPA Freedom to Publish Committee and the Board of the IPA have named Bui Chat, a courageous underground publisher in Vietnam, and the leader of Giay Vun Publishing House, as winner of the 2011 Freedom to Publish Award. Giay Vun is devoted to the printing and publishing of the works of Vietnam's "pavement poets" beyond the reach of censorship authorities. Under Bui Chat's leadership, Giay Vun has directly assisted in the establishment in Vietnam of other publishing houses that operate independently and freely, publishing the works of banned authors and historians.
Bjorn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee said: "After almost 10 years of persistent struggle, the publishing house founded by Bui Chat has helped create an independent publishing movement in Vietnam. Under extremely difficult conditions, the Giay Vun publishing house has initiated a new movement of free thinkers, free writers, free artists who refuse to conform to the State rules of creation. It has helped tear down the barriers of censorship. This publishing house and his founder have been able, through their hard work, to restore faith in freedom of expression and freedom to publish in the country's new generation. They have been able to enhance public awareness of the basic human rights of their fellow citizens: the freedom to think, the freedom to create, the freedom to publish and the freedom to read without fear of persecution. For all the reasons, the international publishing community recognises this courageous publisher today in Buenos Aires, the 2011 World Book Capital".
In accepting the award on behalf of the readers, colleagues, friends and supporters of Giay Vun, Bui Chat said: "Books have the power to make the world free; freedom for those who publish books, for those who read books, and for those who discuss what books bring to them. We hope this award will be a significant boost to the development of the independent publishing movement and civil society in Vietnam."
In 2005 IPA created the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize, a prize designed to honour, each year, a person or an organisation that has made an important contribution to the defence and promotion of freedom to publish anywhere in the world. While the 2006 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize was awarded to Iranian publisher Shalah Lahiji during the Göteborg Book Fair, the 2007 Prize was awarded to Zimbabwean publisher Trevor N'cube at the Cape Town Book Fair. Special Prizes were also given posthumously to Anna Politkovskaya (Russia) and Hrant Dink (Turkey/Armenia). The 2008 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize was awarded to Turkish publisher Ragip Zarakolu during the opening ceremony of an international seminar on neo-censorship co-organised in Amsterdam by IPA and Amsterdam 2008 World Book Capital.
The 2009 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize was awarded to Sihem Bensedrine, Neziha Rjiba and Mohamed Talbi, founders of the Observatory for the Freedom of the Press, Publishing and Creation in Tunisia (OLPEC), as part of the Global Forum on Freedom of Expression program, a Forum IPA was partner of. In 2010 the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize was awarded to Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-Chief, and Viktor Kogan-Yasny, publisher of the Dosh Magazine on the occasion of the Istanbul Book Fair. Prize-winners receive the sum of 5000 CHF.
The award ceremony for the 2011 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize is hosted today by the 37th Buenos Aires international book fair (Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires) organised by the Fundacion El Libro. The Buenos Aires international book fair is the largest of its kind in the Spanish-speaking world. It is being held from 20 April until 9 May 2011. For more information, please see: http://www.el-libro.org.ar/
The award ceremony will take place today on the Book Fair premises from 4:30 p.m. on. The Award will be formally presented by IPA President YoungSuk "Y.S." Chi. Keynote speakers will include Buenos Aires Mayor Mr Mauricio Macri, Mr Hernan Lombardi, Minister of Culture of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, and Dr. José Claudio Escribano. Dr. Escribano is a member of the National Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and the National Academy of Journalism. He has been a journalist at La Nación since 1956. He is a freedom of expression and freedom to publish defender. He is chair of the press freedom committee of the Argentina Newspapers' Association (ADEPA). ADEPA's main goal is to promote press freedom. For many years, Dr. Escribano was the President of ADEPA.
Six years after the launching of the World Book and Copyright Day (23rd April), IPA had the idea, inspired by the successful experience of the city of Barcelona, Spain, to nominate the best city programme aimed at promoting books during the period between one "World Book Day" and the next.
Following IPA's idea, and a proposal by the Government of Spain, supported by many other countries, the UNESCO General Conference decided, on 2nd November 2001, that the Organisation would grant its moral and intellectual support to the conception and implementation of the World Book Capital City initiative, by inviting the international professional organisations of the book chain to work together for its concretisation.
Following a public call for candidatures, the nominating committee (formed of IPA, IFLA, IBF and UNESCO) meets in order to appoint a World Book Capital City. The nominating committee meets once every year at UNESCO headquarters.
In June 2009, Buenos Aires was nominated as World Book Capital 2011 by a jury composed of UNESCO, IPA, IFLA and IBF "on the account of the consolidated strategy underpinning the programme, as well as of the quality and variety of its candidature file". See: http://www.capitaldellibro2011.gob.ar