Introduction

These are not easy times for those who are in the business of disseminating ideas, such as booksellers, librarians, publishers, school boards, exhibitors, artists, teachers and writers. Far too many people, lacking the will or ability to dispute ideas they don’t like, seek the easier route of banning ideas and vilifying those who articulate them.

The victims of these tactics are not just institutions, businesses and authors, but the reading public. Without freedom to read, democracy itself is at risk.

This document is designed as a self-defence tool, primarily for those working in print (although much of the advice will be applicable to other media). It outlines some ways to protect yourself from censorship and deal with it when it arises, and points the reader toward other resources and sources of support. It is not, of course, a substitute for competent legal counsel where needed.

The project was sponsored by the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee. The BPC is an alliance of 26 national organizations representing writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, editors, book manufacturers and marketers.