When the doors of Het Nutshuis in The Hague were opened at the 24th of February 2017 at 1 o´clock in the afternoon, the second edition of the Freedom Book Fair had started. The focus was on authors who are censored or forbidden in their home countries and books who deal with freedom of expression and freedom of press in general. Besides all the books and publications we hosted 6 panel discussions on freedom of speech in different countries and its different forms.
Through these events, that were completely sold out, we were able to put freedom of expression on the agenda and to show our deepest solidarity to people who are putting their lives on the line for it.
The Book Fair started with an introductory panel discussion on Friday evening: “Free speech versus Hate Speech: where the world is heading”, followed by the Somali Poetry Night. In the weekend there were discussions on freedom of expression in Turkey and Bangladesh. Moreover, a documentary and a panel discussion on Saturday evening was dedicated to the LGBT-movement in religious societies.
Every panel was distinguished by the presence of charismatic experts, some of which were personally involved with the subject, trying to give an accurate overview of the current situation in conflict regions and to answer the questions of the audience. Because of this the debates were heated and continued well after the official finishing time, with people exchanging perspectives, opinions and contact details. All events were accompanied by a Facebook live stream, which is still available on the Facebook page of The Hague Peace Projects. We want to say thank you again to everyone who contributed in the organisation, in the events and in the audience to create a successful event. Freedom of expression can never be protected and promoted enough.