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2010 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize awarded to editor-in-chief of Chechen magazine

(IPA/IFEX) - Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, 6 October 2010 - The President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), Herman P. Spruijt, announced on 6 October 2010 in Frankfurt that Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-Chief of "Dosh" magazine, was voted recipient of the 2010 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize for his exemplary courage in upholding freedom to publish.

The other short-listed candidates were publisher Rosspen of Russia and Bui Chat (Giay Vun publishing, Vietnam). A special Award will also go to Turkish publisher Irfan Sanci (Sel Yayincilik).

The Board of the IPA selected Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-Chief of "Dosh" magazine, as the prize winner from among many highly commendable candidates, announced IPA President Herman P. Spruijt following a meeting of the IPA's Board at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 6 October 2010.

The IPA Secretary General said: "Because of its fearless journalism and open commitment to human rights and understanding between the conflicting parties in the Caucasus, the editors, reporters and freelance journalists of the 'Dosh' magazine are being threatened from all sides, and sometimes even harassed and threatened in an increasingly hostile environment. A serious incident as recently as March 2010 underlines the threats. Israpil Shovkhalov and executive editor Abdulla Duduev were on their way to an interview with the President of the Republic of Ingushetia when they were abducted by unknown assailants who released them after a while. We award the 2010 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize to Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-Chief of "Dosh" magazine, in deep respect for his courage, and as a salute to the passion, and the integrity that he so marvellously demonstrates".

IPA established the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize to honour a person or an institution that has made an important contribution to the defence and promotion of the freedom to publish anywhere in the world. This year's award will be formally presented by the IPA President in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 November 2010 on the closing day of the international days of the Istanbul Book Fair (30 October – 2 November).

The other short-listed candidates nominated by IPA members, individual publishers and human rights' organisations were: Bui Chat (Giay Vun Publishing, Vietnam) and Rosspen (Publisher, Russia).

On the same occasion, IPA will also be awarding the "2010 IPA Freedom Prize - Special Award" to Turkish publisher Irfan Sanci of Sel Yayincilik (publishing).

IPA Freedom to Publish Committee Chair Bjørn Smith-Simonsen said: "The owner of Sel publishing, Irfan Sanci, has been sued under Article 226 of the Turkish penal code (TPC; obscenity) for having published the following books: Ben Mila's 'The Fairy's Pendulum'; Guillaume Apollinaire's 'Adventures of the Young Don Juan'; and 'Letters of a Learned and Well-mannered French Bourgeois Lady' by P.V., facing up to 9 years in jail. In May 2010, despite an experts' report from the Galatasaray and Bahcesehir Universities, concluding that the books were works of literature, an Istanbul court decided, for the first time in history, to send the three books to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications for review, deciding whether they constitute literature or obscenity. The next hearing is due on 2 November 2010. There is potential political censorship in the air. We therefore call for Sel's acquittal".

Click here for the full press release and further information on the prize winners
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