IPA and IBF condemn publisher attacks

<p>The International Publishers Association and the International Booksellers Federation have &quot;strongly&quot; condemned the recent series of attacks on publishers and publisher bookshops. </p><p>The two organisations have released a joint statement in response to the attempted firebombing in the UK of The Jewel of Medina publisher Gibson Square and a series of attacks in Greece, which resulted in the burning of thousands of books.</p><p>&quot;Both IPA and IBF support freedom to publish without fear of attack or reprisal, and cannot accept attempts by any individual, group or government to censor through violence and intimidation those who write, publish or sell on any issue, be it on politics, culture or faith,&quot; the statement announced.</p><p>The president of IBF, Karl Pus, said: &quot;Freedom of expression and freedom to publish are fundamental conditions for any democracy. These freedoms are prerequisites for an informed exchange of information, views and values among citizens. They constitute a right to inform, discuss, and criticise.&quot; He added that religious believers had a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their beliefs, but that they could not &quot;expect their religion to be set free from criticism&quot;.</p><p>&quot;Similarly, the holders of a given political view cannot expect their political beliefs to be set free from criticism. Reciprocally, freedom of expression implies a right to contest and protest peacefully against any utterance that ones dislikes or feels insulted by. It goes without saying, violence, including fire bombings, should be banned in all circumstances&quot;.</p><p>Ana Maria Cabanellas, IPA president, added: &quot;One must take these attacks very seriously, condemning them firmly and reminding all that at the very heart of freedom of expression and freedom to publish one has the right to debate openly and publicly different positions and views on political, religious or ethical matters, and to take opposing views. Governments should ensure that open debates, in particular about controversial issues, must take place in a non-violent form. To quote Heinrich Heine, &#39;in a place where they burn books, they will end up burning human beings&#39;.&quot;<br /><br /></p>