Everyone has the right to read.
Society has an obligation to
ensure that everyone has an
opportunity to enjoy the benefit
of reading. Since vast portions of
the world’s population are
deprived of access to books by
inability to read, governments
have the responsibility of helping
to obliterate the scourge of
illiteracy. They should encourage
provision of the printed materials
needed to build and maintain
the skill of reading. Bilateral and
multilateral assistance should
be made available, as required,
to the book professions.
The producers and distributors
of books, for their part, have
the obligation to ensure that
the ideas and information thus
conveyed continue to meet the
changing needs of the reader
and of society as a whole.

Society has a special obligation
to establish the conditions in
which authors can exercise their
creative rôle. The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
states that »everyone has the
right to the protection of the
moral and material interests
resulting from any scientific,
literary or artistic production of
which he is the author«. This
protection should be also
extended to translators, whose
work opens the horizon of a
book beyond linguistic frontiers,
thus providing an essential link
between authors and a wider
public. All countries have the
right to express their cultural
individuality and in so doing
preserve the identity essential
to civilization. Accordingly they
should encourage authors in
their creative role and should
through translation, provide
wider access to the riches
contained in the literature of
other languages, including
those of limited diffusion.

Books serve international
understanding and peaceful
co-operation. »Since wars begin
in the minds of men«, the
UNESCO Constitution states,
»it is in the minds of men that
the defences of peace must be
constructed«. Books constitute
one of the major defences of
peace because of their enormous
influence in creating an
intellectual climate of friendship
and mutual understanding.
All those concerned have an
obligation to ensure that the
content of books promotes
individual fulfillment, social and
economic progress, international
understanding and peace.

Article I, III, and X of the Charter of the Book

proclaimed by the UNESCO 1972


Impressions: black, red, blue

Typeface: Optima

Paper: Rives, France