The second conference of the Arab Publishers Association (APA), was inaugurated today, 23 March, at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina with the participation of 11 Arab countries. The conference, which is held under the banner 'The empowerment of knowledge and the challenges of publishing' – is designed to discuss the future of digital publishing, development of the industry, book fairs in the Arab world, publishing freedoms, piracy and intellectual property rights.
Egypt’s minister of culture, Saber Arab asserted in a written speech delivered to the conference by Ahmed Megahed, Head of the General Egyptian Book Organization, that the Egyptian ministry of culture is prioritizing publishing and publishers on its Agenda as they’re the pillars of knowledge. He also pointed out that Arabic publishing did not reach the global average and his ministry is working to promote the publishing industry to enhance the publishing rates.
“We have an important strategy in regard to publishing that is represented in 3 main directions; the first is taking the responsibility of the expensive book industry and providing it to the reader in a cheap price, promoting the variety of topics and publishing the translated books.” Arab said.
Head of the Arab Publishers Association, Assem Shalaby, said that the publishing industry in the Arab world has a great chance to develop through participate in the political mobility in the Arab street right and promoting the economical renaissance. Shalaby said that yet there are a lot of challenges facing Arab publishers as there’s obstacle that restrict the development of publishing and distributing books, the thing that leaves negative impact on the writers themselves.
“We have many challenges, such as the random censorship imposed by some of the Arab governments, the expensive costs and customs, in addition to the absence of a real media that promotes and market books.” Assem explained, adding that some publishers are part of the problem as they do not work in a united framework and some of them violate the author’s rights.
Ismai’l Serrageddin, Head of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which is hosting the conference, said that the conference is a good step to move forward in empowering knowledge and publishing in the Arab world, adding that the Bibliotheca is working to consolidate this important industry and spreading awareness of the author and publisher rights.