The EvaTasFoundation encourages publication and promotion of texts that are, no matter where and no matter how, subject to censorship.
Freedom of expression is likewise being placed under pressure in the context of the book market. There was a time when responsible publishers were prepared to publish books which they regarded as having major artistic or intellectual importance, and sales were then not such a great concern. Nowadays the situation on the book market has become so tight that there is hardly any leeway left for such a generous publishing policy. This is particularly disastrous for the books of prominent authors whose work nevertheless remains difficult to sell. It is an insidious process which, in some respects, bears similarities to censorship and has similarly catastrophic consequences.
There are indications that people are not only reading less today, but often more poorly, too, in comparison to the recent past. The rise of the visual culture is probably responsible for this to a significant degree. That development is regrettable for various reasons, not least of all because good reading helps people, intellectually and socially, to reflect more profoundly and strengthens their ability to articulate independent ideas. The fund is considering the initiation of a study on the possibility of starting and implementing emancipative and educational projects for adults, involving a literary or journalistic component. In a follow-up to this, research can be carried out on the extent to which projects can be geared to and carried out specifically for the literary and (related) linguistic development of children. Such projects could be set up both in the Netherlands and abroad.
In certain societies, due to religious or other cultural sociological reasons, some topics such as abortion and euthanasia—but others as well—are not infrequently taboo in public discussions. These topics are discussed, at most, in secret; writing about them is impossible. There is no active but indeed passive censorship. Particularly when this occurs in a small linguistic region, whose population hardly has a command, if any, of a foreign language in which books dealing with these topics do get published, political and social debate remains deprived of contrary views and uncommon outlooks. All the more due to great psychological needs that can arise in relation to such topics, we are considering further investigation into the possibility of making existing literature on such topics available in one or more minority languages that would be relevant within this context.
All around the world, especially in some developing countries, there are brave writers, journalists and bloggers who try to defy censorship in their country.We want to draw special attention to their plight, for instance by supporting a seminar on the subject to be held in Africa or Asia.
Raping Chinese Past
Years ago the old writer, Ba Jin (1904-2005) advocated to set up a Museum of the Cultural Revolution in China. This suggestion however lead to deaf ears. The Chinese Communist Party wants to prevent the people to talk about and do research about the catastrophic movement, which pushed China to the edge of collapse for decades. It has decided to rape this part its past.
An independent Chinese cineast living is Japan, who was a child when the Cultural Revolution broke out, is not satisfied with that and asked the Fund to help him in creating a documentary of this campaign of ten years which dragged millions of people and families into indescribable calamity. He has started already to collect related materials and documents and takes every possible chance to interview people about their personal experience. On this way he investigates the deep rooted historical cause of the movement. As the the political motive was a power struggle among the political elites, there remains the mysterie why it spread like a wild fire through the whole country that killed so many people.
Walking into China's forbidden area
With its 731 million internet user, China owns the biggest netizen population in the world. Yet with dozens of laws and regulations, the authorities tie the hands of the internet enterprises and providers. Hundreds of thousands of internet police and the firewalls prevent the individual user to have access to the open and unfiltered information. The conventional media – press, broadcasting and television as well as all the electronic social media suffer together with the Internet under severe censorship.
Although there are diverse and countless restrictions on the media, there is no Press Law in China. The General Administration of Press and Publication is the highest authority, which monitor and control the press and media of the whole country. Besides that, the different local level, such as province, autonomous region, city, county and township has also its mandatory of surveillance on the information flow. Meanwhile the media industry has provided so many crevices and possibilities for the expended market that despite the censorship, the media industry is to a certain stand still flourishing.
A member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, living in Germany, has approached the Fund to write a book on this situation. He will combine several related subjects, like the historical background of censorship in modern China, the existing media laws and regulations, the official propaganda mechanism, the controlling mechanism in internet, as well as the effects of new developments in high technology on social media.
Internet and social media
Experience, including with the distribution of titles published in the series about censorship, have convinced the board that it is time to use more intensively the opportunities of the Internet and social media. Better too late than never! We have to find the best way to bring the work of the foundation into the limelight by using the new media.