28Feb

A Reading Revolution

Following the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, it seems that the ban on controversial books is being lifted:

A number of highly political titles censored by the regime of ousted Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali are now returning to the country’s bookshop shelves….

Alexis Krikorian, director of the Freedom to Publish programme at the IPA, said the emergence of these and other formerly banned books within Tunisia was “very good news”. Whether censorship still existed with regard to new titles was a separate issue, he added, but it was likely that the legal submission procedure, which under the old regime had been misused to block books at their printers, “no longer applies”.

Anecdotal reports are also emerging of once suppressed titles appearing for impromptu sale on street corners and newspaper kiosks across Egypt. Salwa Gaspard of joint English/Arabic language publisher Saqi Books said accounts in the Arabic press told of books that had been hidden for years in private basements now once more seeing the light of day.

The Al Arabia News Channel goes into a little more detail:

Among the several changes that are currently taking place in Egypt after the January 25 revolution and the subsequent ouster of the regime is the release of several books previously banned during the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Thousands of books that were banned during the time of Mubarak for their criticism of the regime are currently available, said Essam, a bookstore owner.
“Huge numbers of readers are now flocking to buy previously banned books,” he told Al Arabiya.

In support of the January 25 revolution, Essam decided to offer discounts on these books that reach 70 percent.

It is interesting to look at undemocratic regimes and the levels of censorship, especially given some perceived democracies are censoring texts in plain sight.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

One comment

  1. Sometimes censorship is a good thing. You never know when some psychopath will pick up a radical text and start a crusade of some sort. (I’m not referring to Egypt here, but just in general.)

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