Lee Ji-myung always wanted to write, even though his creativity could only ever have one possible application in his country — to serve the State. Today, the 63 year old is the president of the North Korean Writers in Exile PEN Center, a collective of writers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that have defected to South Korea, and who now devote themselves to ‘prying open the doors’ of their homeland through literature.

The Turkish Publishers Association, an IPA member, has issued the following press release (translated from the Turkish) following the closure of 29 Turkish publishing houses under a sweeping state crackdown in response to the failed July 15 coup. The IPA fully supports the TPA, and urges Ankara to rescind the summary closure of these publishing businesses.

The IPA has told Bangladesh’s Secretary of Culture, Aktari Mamtaz, that responsibility for the spate of violent attacks on publishers and writers lies only with the perpetrators, and not the victims, at a ground-breaking freedom to publish conference, in Dhaka.

Intentionally or not, Egyptian police marked World Press Freedom on 3 May by raiding the Syndicate of Journalists, in Cairo, and arresting two journalists.

The 31st International Publishers Congress, 9 -12 April, 2016, gathered more than 220 delegates from 41 countries in London's majestic Olympia Conference Centre. This was the second time the Congress had taken place in the UK capital, but the first time it had run parallel to The London Book Fair.

On Sunday, the IPA named jailed Saudi writer and free speech activist, Raif Badawi, the winner of the first IPA Prix Voltaire, formerly the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize. Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar Mohammed, travelled from Canada – where she and their three children secured political asylum in 2013 – to collect the award on her husband’s behalf. 

Saudi Arabian writer, blogger and free speech activist, Raif Badawi, is currently four years into an extremely severe penal sentence that includes a 10-year jail term, 1,000 lashes and a hefty fine. Badawi is one of this year’s IPA Freedom to Publish Prize finalists.

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