Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Censorship by Salesmen"

An Australian publisher has apparently canceled publication of a young adult book because the villains are Islamic terrorists. The Australian provides the details:

Scholastic Australia pulled the plug on the Army of the Pure after booksellers and librarians said they would not stock the adventure thriller for younger readers because the "baddie" was a Muslim terrorist.

A prominent literary agent has slammed the move as "gutless", while the book's author, award-winning novelist John Dale, said the decision was "disturbing because it's the book's content they are censoring".

"There are no guns, no bad language, no sex, no drugs, no violence that is seen or on the page," Dale said, but because two characters are Arabic-speaking and the plot involves a mujaheddin extremist group, Scholastic's decision is based "100 per cent (on) the Muslim issue".

According to the article, the publisher based their decision on the reaction of their audience:

Scholastic's general manager, publishing, Andrew Berkhut, said the company had canvassed "a broad range of booksellers and library suppliers", who expressed concern that the book featured a Muslim terrorist.

"They all said they would not stock it," he said, "and the reality is if the gatekeepers won't support it, it can't be published."

Mr. Dale's agent has rightfully assailed this situation as "censorship by salesmen". There might still be hope, though. Maybe if her client changes the terrorists from jihadists to European neo-Nazis, his book could be published after all.


Post a Comment

<< Home