Venezuelan publisher receives award from US book association

NEW YORK (AP) — One of Venezuela’s few remaining independent publishers is being honored by the Association of American Publishers, the trade association announced Wednesday.

Editorial Dahbar, which publishes books that include interviews with political prisoners and critiques of the country’s criminal justice system, has been given the AAP’s International Freedom to Publish/Jeri Laber Award.

The publisher is run by Sergio Dahbar, an editor, author and investigative journalist.

“Editorial Dahbar has exhibited tremendous courage and commitment in continuing to publish, even as the social and political environments in Venezuela have deteriorated, causing many others to flee the country,” Terry Adams, who chairs the AAP’s Freedom to Publish Committee, said in a statement.

In its announcement, the association noted that speech is frequently censored in Venezuela, authors are harassed, and Dahbar books are hard to find in stores affiliated with President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Sergio Dahbar has alleged that the government’s “communications hegemony is silencing the media and journalists.”

Previous recipients of the award include publishers in Guatemala, Bangladesh and South Africa. Laber, for whom the award is named, is a co-founder of Human Rights Watch and a founding member of the AAP’s Freedom to Publish Committee.

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