A Tehran-based book publisher has thrown out her license to publish in protest at the failure of her peers to speak out about “the pain and suffering of the oppressed people” of Iran.
Maryam Kianafraz, the director of Kianafraz Publishing, wrote on Instagram that she was throwing her license in the trash “so that the fighting and freedom-loving people of my land can burn it along with the garbage, in the same garbage cans they forage in for a piece of bread.”
Kianafraz focuses on literary and psychological books and has published a number of best-selling books in recent years. But criticising her fellow publishers, Kianafraz said she did not want to belong to an industry whose members remained silent in the face of oppression.
Iranian authors suffer extensive censorship, which is managed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Addressing them, Kianafraz said: "The publishing license reminds me of the hijab you require me to wear in order to enter the building of the Ministry building. Well, if you don't want to let me in without it, I don't want to enter."
"I and the women of my land do not need your guidance in any way. No to your Ministry of Islamic Guidance, which is the slaughterhouse of our culture, art and literature. No to your guidance, which is the slaughterhouse of our Mahsas."
In a separate action, the author Youssef Ansari also spoke out against the Ministy of Culture on social media. He said he had not submitted any book for approval since 2012, and had not promoted his two earlier books that had been approved by the Ministry.
“I will burn them,” he said, vowing not to read or support any works that had been vetted and approved by the Ministry of Culture. “It is better for publishers to stop supporting the protests by stopping their publishing and [by extension] acceptance of censorship.”
Other prominent Iranian writers, including Mustafa Mastour, have joined popular protests against the government and criticized the state repression.
The Iranian Writers' Association has declared its solidarity with the Iranian people’s struggle for liberty. It has asked writers and artists whose “professional lives are tied to freedom of expression, as well as similar organizations and institutions around the world” to be the voice of the wider movement.