“To prohibit the reading of certain books is to declare the individuals to be either fools or slaves. Such a prohibition ought to fill them with disdain”.
RIGHTS OF AUTHORS in democratic countries
With this chart of rights, fiction authors reclaim their role as artists and members of the intellectual community. As such, they affirm the right to freedom of opinion and personal expression. By "fiction authors" we mean authors who produce literary works based on imagination and fiction. This includes children's writers, inasmuch as children are considered more vulnerable to repression and censorship.
These rights are inalienable, in our opinion, and any violation of them represents a violation of democratic principles and the values of individual liberty. Any action aimed at modifying, repressing, moderating, or adapting the work of an author for ideological or political purposes should be considered coercive and questionable. Any negotiation concerning the production of a literary work should take these rights into account, in order to increase and promote literary "bibliodiversity" in each democratic country.
- Fiction authors draw on their own imaginations to write their works. Therefore, they should not be compared to chroniclers, journalists, anthropologists, sociologists, religious preachers, ideologues, or psychologists. A literary work is, first, a work of fiction, which in no way takes in account a predestined reality or a pre-established truth.
- Fiction authors are creative artists. Like all categories of artists in democratic countries, they should not be subjected to ideological pressure aimed at minimizing their own creativity, their self-confidence, or their freedom of expression, opinion, and experimentation.
- Fiction authors have the right to freely explore the subjects that they deal with, regardless of the purpose or the subject of their work. Their task is, or should be, to expose different nuances of characters and situations, to offer a varied vision of humanity, without fearing repercussions or censorship of any kind.
- Fiction authors have the right to free opinion on any argument or subject. Each of their voices is unique and is not to be confused with the expression of a group. In their work, authors may dissent, contradict, or question the opinion of the group or the common sense of a given society in any way and as much as they believe. The work itself, therefore, remains a work of fiction, the fruit of their intellect and their exclusively personal artistic capacities.
- Fiction authors are not at the service of current ideology. In their work they have the right to dissent from any opinion shared by the majority at any point in history, without fear of repercussion, censorship, or threat of censorship.
- Fiction authors have the right to use any literary technique they deem necessary to improve their own work. This includes the use of comedy, humor, satire, irony, and sarcasm in their historical definition, which is not subject to interpretation. This definition provides for the desecration and ridiculing of any subject, not to offend, but to expose vices and defects in the community or the established authority. Fiction authors who use these tools are not bound to consider individual or collective sensitivities, because the reader always holds the inviolable right not to read a disturbing work.
- Fiction authors retain moral rights to their work even after their death. In no case may anyone take upon themselves the right to modify, cut, rewrite, or censor the author's texts for ideological reasons. Modifying the text of a dead author for the purpose of historical revisionism, or to satisfy the ideological needs of political or religious groups, should be considered a serious crime. Just as no one in a democratic country should authorize the dismantling of monuments that symbolize an unshared past, a literary work located in another time and place should not and must not be subjected to a retroactive process. Indeed, its historical witness adds to its literary value.
- Fiction authors are entitled to have their artistic individuality respected. Any form or prior censorship during the publication process aimed at satisfying outside ideological pressure should be firmly resisted by the intellectual community. The elimination of words, sentences, topics or viewpoints to avoid possible opposition or dissent, especially when they are generic or biased, should be discouraged in order to favor the bibliodiversity that allows authors to live out their own authorship and their own moral and artistic role.
- Fiction authors have the right to recognition of their intellectual peculiarity, of which their work is the fruit. Any action aimed a repressing it to make it conform to collective thought is to be considered coercive and, depending on the situation, violent. Authors are not compilers of content that may be arbitrarily modified. Their writing is always the result of personal and sometimes painful reflections and complex experiences. In a democratic society, these should be valued even when they are considered "controversial."
- Fiction authors have the right to have their professionalism recognized. They belong to the intellectual class of a democratic country, and their work must not be challenged based on superficial, emotional, or ideological judgments. Just as the detractors of scientists, physicians, engineers, and other experts are censured, so we should censure those who think they can ban or censor a book, whether for adults or children, based on personal, political or religious convictions or opinions.