Freedom to Publish: IPA backs second US publisher faced with Trump threats

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IPA backs Simon and Schuster in the face of legal threats from the Trump campaign to prevent the publication of a book giving an insider’s account of the Donald Trump White House.

The threat of legal action, issued by President Donald Trump, arrived the day before publication of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s Unhinged: An Insider Look at the Trump White House. Simon and Schuster’s outside legal counsel responded the day after publication with a full rejection of the claims.

In January 2018, IPA threw its full support behind US publisher Macmillan as one of its imprints published Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. At the time the IPA described the development as worrying.

Regarding this second case, Maria A Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers said: The Association of American Publishers fully supports Simon & Schuster in this unfortunate development. Books are a protected part of speech and debate in the world — not only part of the public’s right to know but also to decide and discern what is important or unimportant, remarkable or unremarkable. Sure, books can be uncomfortable for leaders at times, but over the long course, both leaders and their legacies will be very well-served by the published word.

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee added: IPA supports our colleagues at Simon and Schuster and the American publishing industry as a whole in the face of this second attack on the Freedom to Publish from the President of the United States. We must stand united to ensure that these acts of intimidation fail.

IPA’s President, Michiel Kolman, said: Simon and Schuster’s response, like Macmillan’s, is an inspiring example to publishers everywhere. At the same time we must be conscious that not all publishers around the world are well enough resourced or on sufficiently strong legal ground to resist such threats. This is why it so important that the IPA continues to further develop its Freedom to Publish work around the world.

The attempts by Trump’s campaign were widely criticised by the American publishing industry who, through the National Coalition Against Censorship, issued a statement.

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