In a historic first, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) today awarded the 2023 International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award to publishing houses from around the world that continue to publish in the face of government pressure, harassment, and threats.
This is a break from tradition, when the AAP would present the award to a named individual or publishing house. The change affords the winner/s anonymity and underlines the dangers they might otherwise face.
Terry Adams, chair, AAP Freedom to Publish Committee and digital and paperback publisher at Little, Brown and Company said: From government censorship and book bans to harassment and arrests, pressure on the global publishing community has reached unprecedented levels. This year we heard from numerous publishers from various parts of the world who were grateful to be considered for recognition, but who also live in fear of the additional scrutiny, harassment, and danger that such an honour might bring. As a result, this years award is for the many houses who quietly fight the battle for free expression under impossibly difficult circumstances.
The International Freedom to Publish Award, which was established in 2002, generally recognizes a publisher outside the United States who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in defending freedom of expression. The award, which includes a cash prize, is named in honor of Jeri Laber, a co-founder of Human Rights Watch and founding member of AAPs Freedom to Publish Committee. In some instances, the honorees particular circumstances may prevent him or her from accepting the award or communicating in person.
Adams concluded: On behalf of the AAPs Freedom to Publish Committee, we send a loud and clear message to publishing professionals who are under siege for their bravery, their determination, and their sacrifice: we see you.