From Publishers Weekly:
America’s Big Five trade publishers have found themselves in the middle of a long-running battle between Greenpeace and Resolute Forest Products over the forest company’s logging practices in Canada’s boreal forest. Greenpeace has been campaigning for years to make Resolute change its polices in Canada’s northern forests, and the fight has taken a number of turns; one of the unexpected twists was Greenpeace’s decision to take a booth at this year’s BookExpo. The booth and ads in PW Show Daily and last week’s issue of PW magazine are designed to pressure Resolute to modify its forest practices and also to drop a lawsuit it brought against the environmental organization.
Responding to what it says are unsubstantiated claims Greenpeace has made against it, Resolute first filed a lawsuit in Canada in 2013 charging the organization with defamation and economic interference. It followed that up with a May 2016 lawsuit in Georgia alleging RICO violations and defamation. Greenpeace views that suit as creating a free-speech issue, claiming it is designed to silence the group and could silence other advocacy organizations.
Last September, the AAP joined with 11 other media groups in filing an amicus curiae brief in the Georgia case, arguing that if the lawsuit is upheld it could have a chilling effect on free speech rights. But in May, Greenpeace chose to put more heat on publishers to support its cause, releasing a report saying it learned that major U.S. publishers, despite backing free speech, are buying paper from Resolute sourced from disputed areas. Greenpeace also took a petition to BookExpo, signed by more than 100 authors, that called for publishers to stand up for free speech by opposing the Resolute lawsuits and pressure Resolute to engage in more sustainable forest practices.
Rodrigo Estrada, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said that though Greenpeace does not usually attend trade shows, the organization made an exception for BookExpo because it felt it was important to reach out to publishers to more clearly explain its position on the issue. Estrada added that Greenpeace seeks to reassure publishers that it doesn’t want to work against them but would rather work with them on sustainability and free speech issues. “The message isn’t that publishers are the bad guys,” Estrada said, adding that “we want to show them we aren’t the enemy.”
The Big Five publishers—which have all created environmental policies—have called the Greenpeace-Resolute fight a complicated issue (one person, off the record, called it a mess) and have expressed sympathy with some of Greenpeace’s objectives while opposing some of its tactics. A statement from Simon & Schuster sums up the general feeling among the publishers PW contacted: “Each party in the dispute has made claims, counterclaims and arguments in support of its positions about complicated issues, that, as publishers, we have little ability to judge or verify. We do, however, recognize the urgency of current environmental issues, the unalloyed right to free and responsible free speech in advocating for environmental and other causes, and the right to defend one’s reputation.”
Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly
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