Freedom of expression, alongside the freedom to publish and sell books is a key a priority for us at the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), and has been since our inception as an organisation representing the interests of the European and international bookselling community. 

It is a human right enshrined in international law, namely in the United  Nations  Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Rights,  the  European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 

Unfortunately, it is also a right that has been thwarted, restricted and even suppressed over the years, particularly in times of political oppression. EIBF has responded to many of these violations, for instance, condemning the disappearance of author, publisher and bookshop owner Gui Minhai, who is currently imprisoned. 

Nevertheless, more recent events have shown us that the censorship of the written word is still very prevalent, including in Europe, as seen with the banning of LGBTQ+ books in Hungary and bookshop raids in Belarus earlier this year.  

In this context, with the help of EIBF’s active members and inspired by our attendance to the first-ever World Expression Forum (WEXFO) earlier this year, we set ourselves the task to draft an ambitious charter and guiding principles that would help steer our work on freedom of expression and demonstrate our continuous and committed work to defend this fundamental right. 

We were, therefore, very proud to present the Charter to our members after many months of work at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the world's largest and most important events for the book sector, gathering book sector professionals from all over the world. There, our members had the opportunity to sign the Charter and formally endorse it.

Members sign FoE
                                     EIBF members sign the Freedom of Expression Charter ​​​​​​


At the Frankfurt Book Fair, we also had the opportunity to present the Charter to the international publishing community, specifically at the Interantional Publishers Association (IPA) freedom to publish open meeting. Having worked hand in hand with IPA for many years in our fight against censorship, we recognise their great work on the topic. Now, with our Charter to guide us along the way, we will continue to work together as long as books are censored or challenged in any way.  


Daniel presents FoE Charter
                      EIBF’s Policy Advisor, Daniel Martin Brennan, presenting the Charter at IPA’s open meeting 


Want to take a look and support our Freedom of Expression Charter? It will be unveiled to the public in the coming weeks, ahead of the Human Rights Day on 10th December, which commemorates the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Keep your eyes peeled on our website and social channels for the announcement!