Germany’s Freedom of Speech Week Opens May 3

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‘The preservation of democratic values ​​is becoming an urgent concern’: Partnerships expand for Germany’s Freedom of Speech Week.

At Paulskirche in Frankfurt, a church now seen as historic in part because it was the place in which the Frankfurt Parliament convened in 1848 as the first freely elected German legislature. Image – Getty iStockphoto, June 22, 2022: Olena Babak

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Kraus vom Cleff: ‘The Importance of Democratic Freedoms’
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, has set May 3 to 10 as the dates for a third iteration of the country’s Freedom of Expression Week—Woche der Meinungsfreiheit. Described as a “nationwide week of action,” the program’s theme this year is “Together for Peace, Democracy, and Diversity.”

Today (April 28), media messaging tells us that since being announced in February, the program has seen its cohort of partners rise to around 60, and more than 60 events now are set for the week, all “emphasizing the importance of freedom of expression and lively debates for a free, democratic society public focus.”

First-time sponsors include the Crespo Foundation and the Polytechnic Society Foundation, prompting Peter Kraus vom Cleff, the Börsenverein‘s general manager, to say, “Numerous new partners and a growing number of events compared to the previous year show that the preservation of democratic values ​​is becoming an urgent concern for more and more people.

Peter Kraus vom Cleff

Peter Kraus vom Cleff

“With a strong alliance and an exciting program, we would therefore like to create awareness of the importance of democratic freedoms, give food for thought and promote debates during the week of freedom of expression.

“The diversity of the program contributions from different partners from across society is an expression of this democratic idea.”

The official opening event on Wednesday (May 3) is at Frankfurt’s iconic Paulskirche, an 8 p.m. event set to mark the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, the United Nations’ focus on the importance of the news media (still a plural word, by the way) in many challenges faced by the book publishing industry, such as book bannings, classroom censorship, attack on copyright, the freedom to publish, and more.

“The preservation of democratic values ​​is becoming an urgent concern for more and more people.”Peter Kraus vom Cleff

This year’s observances by the world body of World Press Freedom Day include special programming, especially pertinent at a time when Vladimir Putin and others are abducting and imprisoning fully credentialed professional journalists.

The May 3 start of the German program will feature Nancy Faeser, Igor Levit, Michel Friedman and Nargess Eskandari-Grunberg in an event held jointly with the city of Frankfurt and Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Also of special interest is a May 7 reading at 1 p.m. in Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theater, again organized by the Börsenverein with Aslı Erdoğan, Aysima Ergün, Doğa Gürer, Herta Müller, Moritz Rinke, Felicitas Hoppe, Maria Stepanova, Jan Wagner, Peter Kraus vom Cleff, and moderation by Bascha Mika (tickets here). That program is called Where Books are Burned, People Will Also Be Burned in the End.

You can find full programming here for events happening in many parts of Germany during the week.

Partners Engaged in Freedom of Expression Week
  • Amnesty International
  • Bastei Lübbe Verlag
  • Educational center Anne Frank
  • Book children Leipzig eV
  • Büchner-Verlag eG
  • Bookstore “Books near Dausien”, Hanau
  • Book Guild Gutenberg
  • Crespo Foundation
  • Deutschlandfunk
  • German National Library
  • German Book and Writing Museum
  • German National Library
  • German Exile Archive 1933-1945
  • Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Evangelical City Academy Munich
  • Frankfurt agency alliance
  • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • Frankfurt Society for Trade, Industry, and Science EV
  • Frankfurt book fair
  • Frankfurt Salon
  • Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
  • Gait Leipzig
  • Erfurt Horticultural Museum
  • Association of Press Wholesalers
  • Global digital women
  • Hessian radio
  • International Journalists Association
  • Art association family Montez
  • Leipzig Book Fair
  • Leipzig Internet Newspaper
  • Lindley Lindenberg
  • Literature House Karlsruhe
  • Louise Aston Society
  • Margit Horváth Foundation
  • Maxim Gorky Theater
  • media campus frankfurt
  • Murnau Film Theater
  • MVB
  • Network of Literature Houses
  • Nicolaische Buchhandlung, Berlin
  • Palm Foundation
  • Penguin Random House Publishing Group
  • PEN Center Germany
  • Polytechnic Society registered association
  • RBL Media
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Radio Berlin Brandenburg
  • Saxon State Chancellery “That’s how it works in Saxony.”
  • Swiss book trade and publishing association
  • S. Fischer Publishers
  • Munich City Academy
  • City of Leipzig
  • Frankfurt am Main City Library
  • Stephen Bookstore
  • Ullstein Verlag
  • burnt places
  • Publisher CH Beck
  • Adult Education Center in Frankfurt am Main
  • VS Association of German Writers
  • Droemer Knaur publishing group
  • Wallstein publishers
  • October 3rd – Germany sings

More from Publishing Perspectives on the German book market is here, more on the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels is here, and more on the freedom of expression and freedom to publish is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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