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2008 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize awarded to persecuted publisher Ragip Zarakolu

(IPA/IFEX) - The following is an abridged IPA press release:

The 2008 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize goes to Ragip Zarakolu

Seoul, Amsterdam, Geneva - During the closing ceremony of the 28th IPA Publishers Congress in Seoul, Korea, IPA President Ana María Cabanellas announced that publisher Ragip Zarakolu was voted recipient of the 2008 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize for his exemplary courage in upholding freedom to publish.

The board of the International Publishers Association (IPA) meeting in Seoul, Korea, selected Ragip Zarakolu as Prize-winner from among many highly commendable candidates, announced IPA President Ana María Cabanellas.

IPA established the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize to honour a person who has made an important contribution to the defence and promotion of freedom to publish anywhere in the world. This year's award will be formally presented during the opening ceremony of the international seminar on neo-censorship in Amsterdam on 18 September 2008.

Ana María Cabanellas declares: "Ragip Zarakolu's work as a publisher and his wholehearted support of freedom to publish have often brought him into conflict with the authorities and endangered his personal safety. Ragip Zarakolu has persistently continued to tackle controversial issues, thus encouraging healthy debate in Turkey. We award this Prize to Ragip Zarakolu in deep respect for his courage as a publisher and as a salute to the passion, the integrity, and the steadfastness that he so marvelously demonstrates".

IPA Freedom to Publish Committee Chair Bjørn Smith-Simonsen adds: "Ragip Zarakolu has long been exposed to legal harassment for publishing books on minorities and human rights. We hope this Prize will encourage him to continue his publishing work".

The other short-listed candidates nominated by IPA members, individual publishers and human rights' organisations were: Marc Falkoff (USA), Carsten Juste (Denmark), Shi Tao (China), Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly (Vietnam), and Dusan Velickovic (Serbia).

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