28 April 2011

Alert

Ecuadorian embassy official prevents distribution of book at Buenos Aires book festival


Incident details

Censorship

El Gran Hermano, Book

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(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 21 April 2011, an Ecuadorian embassy official in Buenos Aires prevented the book "El Gran Hermano", written by investigative journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, from being "sold, exhibited or handed out" arguing that "the book is full of lies, it is a book that is against the government while the stand is paid for by the government".

This was recounted to Fundamedios by an Ecuadorian citizen who lives in Buenos Aires, who also said that the official berated him saying "you would allow your enemy into your home."

According to the Argentinean website Perfil.com, when the embassy official approached the Ecuadorian stand to enquire if the book "El Gran Hermano" was on sale, the person in charge responded that "the book was never brought and it isn't on sale". However, the blog notes, "just at that moment one of the fair's organizers arrived with a box full of copies". When the organizer opened the box and started to take out the books, which President Rafael Correa wants no one to read, the man in charge shouted: "That book will not be sold here".

The first order stating that the book's copies should be withdrawn was issued by the Ecuadorian ambassador in Buenos Aires, Wellington Sandoval.

This action was condemned in a statement issued by the "Paradiso" publishing house, which published the book. The statement points out that "agreements signed between the Ecuadorian Book Chamber and the Ministry of Culture do not grant this organization the authority to censor any publication . . . moreover, both the American Convention on Human Rights and the Ecuadorian Constitution guarantee the freedom of circulation for books and freedom of expression".

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