IPA concerned about publisher "blacklist" in Iran

IPA concerned about publisher "blacklist" in Iran

The International Publishers Association is urgently trying to locate an Iranian publisher on women's issues after she was named in an alleged blacklist of Iranian publishers.

The blacklist, reportedly circulated by a chapter of Iran's Basij militia at Khajeh Nasir University, contains names of Iranian publishers it thinks are displaying "evidence of soft overthrow and velvet revolution".

Among those included are Roshangaran, which publishes material on women's issues, which made the 64-page document for its publication of works on "civil society and civil struggle". The publisher's founder, Shahla Lahiji, won the Independent Publishing Association's Freedom To Publish prize in 2006 and the organisation is urgently trying to contact her.

Aleksis Kirkorian, director of Freedom to Publish at the IPA, told The Bookseller: "We are very concerned about the alleged blacklist of publishers in Iran and are currently making investigations. It is not clear where she [Lahiji] is right now. But according to my contact . . . this blacklist does exist. It would have actually been issued by a mosque."

Another publisher on the list is Nashr-e-Ney, which publishes books on sociology, economics, politics and religion. It is accused of being at the forefront of "publishers opposed to the Islamic establishment".

Other Iranian publishers featured include Nashr Cheshmeh, Atayi, Kavir, and Ghoghnous, which publish novels, short stories, and also philosophical works and books dealing with the social sciences.

According to a recent article on Radio Free Europe, publishers have been warning about growing state pressure and censorship since Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 and face regular obstructions in their operations.

"In recent years there have been increased reports of publishers being summoned by the Intelligence Ministry for questioning, and of publishers being required to gain approval from the Culture Ministry for books they want to publish," the article said.