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Kristenn Einarsson 2024

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The “Woche der Meinungsfreiheit” (Freedom of Expression Week) will take place between 3 (International Press Freedom Day) and 10 May (anniversary of the book burnings) 2024. This is an initiative put together by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the recently founded Freedom of Expression Foundation and the Frankfurter Agenturallianz.  

The aim of the campaign week is to provide important impetus for the socio-political debate in Germany and to emphasise the importance of freedom of expression and lively debate for a democratic society. 

Every year, people from over 100 countries come together at Frankfurter Buchmesse. As part of the "Freedom of Expression Week", we focus on the perspectives of international members of the publishing industry. 

What does freedom of expression mean to you personally? What do you think is the biggest challenge to freedom of expression? What can publishers from around the world do to promote freedom of expression? 

In cooperation with the IPA (International Publishers Association), we put these questions to colleagues from India, Turkey, Spain, Italy, the UK, Canada and the USA and brought them together here.   

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair, Freedom to Publish Committee, International Publishers Association

What does freedom of expression mean to you personally? 

Freedom of expression has been an important part of my life in many different ways – in publishing, in broadcasting. That freedom to speak our mind is so important for people to understand each other, for our democracies to work. Real freedom of expression is guaranteed by the freedom to publish. Together these secure our freedom to read. 

What do you perceive as the greatest challenge to freedom of expression? 

There are so many challenges to freedom of expression and they vary in different places around the world. I see 2 – traditional State censorship and self-censorship due to pressure by different groups whether based on politics, religion, or other topics.  

What can publishers around the world do to promote freedom of expression? 

Publishers have the privilege and duty to bring a range of voices, opinions and ideas to their readers. They have to stand in solidarity with others in the book sector – authors, booksellers and librarians who are also under pressure to censor. 

About Kristenn Einarsson 

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of Freedom to Publish Committee, has forty-five years of experience in Publishing with 9 years as CEO of The Norwegian Publishers Association (2011 – 2020). He is now Managing Director of the newly created World Expression Forum. 

About the Freedom of Expression Week 

Now in its fourth year, the "Freedom of Expression Week" programme promotes the expression of opinion and lively debate for a democratic society. This year's programme includes more than 60 events throughout Germany.  

Further information on the programme and the Freedom of Expression Week Charter can be found here. (opens in a new window)