No check on import and publication of books: APA
APA deputy head, Ajmal Azim, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 80 publishers in Afghanistan had work permits. But only 25 of them are operating as a large number of books are imported from different countries.
“Approximately, 5-10 thousand books are imported, particularly from Iran and Pakistan, every year without any check from the government. Each imported book should be cleared by the government -- a process that has been ignored,” he alleged.
Most of publishers did not register the books they printed due to negligence and poor management of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Azim claimed.
“Nearly 1,500 books are printed inside the country but only 200 to 250 are registered while the rest are only written with ‘Copy Right of Author’, an issue the ministry isn’t bothered about,” he remarked.
“Unfortunately, people import books or print them domestically without registration. This practice is violative of the right of authors and publishers. The revenue from sales is also not taxed by the government,” he revealed.
As a result, a large number of publishers avoid joining any association/union to legalise their operations. The ministry concerned was careless on the issue, he maintained.
Shah Wali Sultani, head of Mohammad Rafiq Publications, acknowledged they had not yet registered the books they printed.
“No one monitors our books and we did not register them either because they would impose tax on us. We cannot pay taxes both to the municipality and the Ministry of Finance,” he continued.
Generally speaking, many people use the Internet and evince little interest in reading books. Therefore, the government should promote book reading and support publishers and booksellers, he argued.
A law on protecting the rights of authors, artists and researchers was approved following a legislative decree from former president Hamid Karzai on July 21, 2008.
Based on Article 45 of the law, MoIC can define procedures, bills and regulations for better implementation of contents of the law.
Deputy Minister of Information Syeda Muzhgan Mustafawi, commenting on the complaints of APA, said they were monitoring the books imported through the customs.
Without giving details, she said that MoIC was ready to give copyright and ISBN to all books printed inside the country to prevent the materials from being misused by others.
She admitted the ministry did not force the registration of books and publishers voluntarily turned up to do so.
Zakiullah Amiri, director of the copyright section at the ministry, confirmed most books were published without being registered.
“We have registered around a thousand books since 2012 when this section launched work; 16 other books have obtained copyright from 2015 till now,” he explained.
He said lack of awareness about authors’ rights, negligence of writers and fraud in registration of authors by publishers were the reason why most of the books were unregistered.
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