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Haddon, Mark

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Times Literary Supplement - United Kingdom | 03/03/2006

Writers denounce London Book Fair organiser's ties to arms trade

Thirteen prominent writers - including Nobel Laureates J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer - have written an open letter calling on the London Book Fair to sever its ties with the publisher Reed Elsevier, an organiser of international arms fairs. Reed Elsevier is the parent company of the book fair's organiser, Reed Exhibitions. "Reed Exhibitions have publicly insisted that 'the defence industry is central to the preservation of freedom and national security'," states the letter. "Yet military buyers were invited from some of the world's most violent and repressive regimes, including Colombia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and China, currently subject to a United Nations arms embargo. ... We are appalled that our trade should be commercially connected to one which exacerbates insecurity and repression, and which props up regimes inimical to free expression."

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