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Bangladesh publisher's book fair ban sparks free-speech outcry

Exclusion from nation's top literary festival seen as part of troubling pattern

Adarsha's stall at the 2022 Ekushey Book Fair: The publisher was not granted a stall this year, apparently due to a trio of books critical of the government. (Photo courtesy of Mahbub Rahman)

DHAKA -- Bangladesh's largest book fair is poised to bar a prominent publisher known for releasing works by dissident writers, in what critics say is the latest sign of intensifying pressure on opponents of the government.

Adarsha Prakashani, whose name roughly translates to Ideal Publisher, is set to be left out of the monthlong Ekushey Book Fair, which starts Wednesday. Bangla Academy, the state-run institution that promotes Bangla language and literature and organizes the event, determined that some books from Adarsha contain "elements" that go against its policies and regulations.

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