Rights of readers

"Wherever they burn books, in the end they will also burn human beings".
Heinrich Heine

RIGHTS OF READERS in democratic countries

  1. Readers have a right to access freely the world literature, as a common good and an asset of humanity. No one may impede or control this access. In the case of young readers, individual propensities and needs should be respected.
  2. Readers have a right to their curiosity and thus to wander among different works in any way and for whatever reason they deem suitable. To limit their freedom to explore must be considered a coercive act, in some cases a violent one. In the case of children and youth, curiosity about a given work must be respected, avoiding forcing them to follow steps that do not correspond to the actual maturity of the reader.
  3. Readers have a right not to have their opinions and judgments manipulated by censorship, ideological omissions, or the withdrawal of works from free access. Children and youth also enjoy this right.
  4. Readers have the right to criticize a work and to dissent from its content. They have the right not to read the work, after obtaining information about it, to advise against it, to review it negatively if they have read it, but not to ask that it be censored or withdrawn from free access, not even in the name of protecting children.
  5. Readers have the right not to finish a book if this proves unsuited to their sensitivities or does not meet their expectations.
  6. Readers have the right to bibliodiversity, that is, to a varied literary production that stimulates and encourages the development of ideas and a critical spirit through a vast choice of viewpoints on many disparate subjects. Prior censorship by publishers and consequent self-censorship by authors, when they become daily practice, are to be considered damaging to bibliodiversity and thus contrary to the welfare of readers.
  7. Readers have the right to feel offended by the content of a work, whether in their personal identity or the identity of a group to which they belong. In this case, they may appeal to articles 4 and 5 in the chart of readers' rights, above. Because offense by its very nature is subjective, it cannot damage the right to free access to the works or bibliodiversity, or the rights of authors.
  8. Readers have the right to be considered capable of choosing, discerning, processing, and deciding for themselves, unless otherwise proven. Children and youth should also be encouraged to develop these skills as soon as possible, so that they can actively and knowledgeably participate in cultural and literary life.
  9. Readers have the right not to be ideologically hampered, repressed or oppressed for their literary tastes or choices.
  10. Readers have the right not to be considered merely a commercial target of the publishing market. Above all, they have the right to be considered active members of the intellectual community of a democratic country.