2020 Freedom to Publish Award Goes to Jagriti Publishing House

The Association of American Publishers has awarded Jagriti Publishing House, a publishing house based in Bangladesh, the 2020 AAP International Freedom to Publish, or Jeri Laber, Award. The prize is awarded to a publisher who has demonstrated courage in defending freedom of expression.

The award was accepted by Razia Rahman Jolly, widow of Faisal Arefin Dipan, who was the founder and owner of Jagriti Publishing. Dipan was brutally murdered by religious extremists because of his association with the secular science writer Avijit Roy and other freethinking authors.

Terry Adams, digital and paperback publisher, Little, Brown and Co., and chair, AAP Freedom to Publish Committee, said “Jagriti’s founder, Faisal Arefin Dipan, paid the ultimate price for having the audacity to exercise his fundamental right to publish. In the wake of his murder, Razia Rahman Jolly refused to be silenced, insisting that Jagriti would not only continue but expand its operations with a bookstore and cultural center dedicated to helping young people explore the world of books. To stand so bravely in the face of such ongoing danger, and to continue the fight in the wake of tragedy, is an example of extraordinary valor that deserves the respect and admiration of publishers and protectors of free speech the world over.”

After the murder of her husband, Razia Rahman Jolly took over the management of the Jagriti Publishing House. She established a bookshop and cultural center in her husband’s memory.

In her acceptance speech Jolly said, “After the brutal murder of Dipan, it was my commitment to myself and society that I must stand for the cause and decided I will leave no stones unturned to continue the activities of Jagriti publishing house against all odds.  I express my gratitude to my family, friends and well wishers who extended their support in various forms during this period of struggle ultimately to uphold the right of lawful freedom of speech even being faced with adverse situations."

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