Publisher rejects censorship claims after halting publication of book criticising army

Author: Jamie Doward, The Observer via The Guardian, Published on: 21 August 2019

"In no man’s land: anger as publisher puts book criticising army on hold", 18 August 2019

In the three years Akam spent writing and researching the book [The Changing of the Guard] he interviewed 260 people, in a bid to understand how the army had changed over the last couple of decades, and in particular what it had learned from two recent conflicts...

But [...] Penguin Random House (PRH) [...] told Akam that there was a “quite unprecedented level of withdrawal of support and co-operation for the book from multiple sources” and halted the March publication.

The move prompted eight organisations, including the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Reporters Without Borders, Index on Censorship and the National Union of Journalists, to accuse it of “censoring information of vital interest to the public”...

The ECPMF said it was “highly concerned about the precedent such action establishes”...

PRH said: “As we made clear in our response of May 2019 to the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, this is a decision we were obliged to take as a responsible publisher and we do not see this as a freedom of expression issue... The suggestion therefore that we are censoring information of vital interest to the public is misconceived and the suggestion that we required the author to give copy approval to everyone in the book is denied.

“Penguin Random House is committed to enabling and defending freedom of expression and editorial independence; that commitment depends on responsible publishing processes and standards.” ...

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Related companies: Penguin Random House