Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Books Under Threat

RFE/RL’s Golnaz Esfandiari points to the dangers facing writers and publishers in Iran. Recently introduced censorship restrictions and guidelines are preventing the issue of new books, and some in the book industry are warning that it could be destroyed by the burdensome and bureaucratic regulations.

Farkhondeh Hajizadeh, an Iranian writer and an award-winning publisher, tells RFE/RL that the licensing process for new titles has become “a monster.”

Over the past year, she claims, many of her books have gone unpublished.

“It would be better for you to ask how many of my books have been given a license these days,” Hajizadeh says when asked about the number of books she has seen held up by censors. “In the past, none of our books were granted permission without modifications. It seems the publishing industry is being devastated, or independent publishers cannot exist anymore. We specialize in art and literature — that’s exactly the area that’s problematic for [officials], not physics and chemistry. Our books have been either banned, or they have faced censorship after a year, or they remain suspended.”

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