Bill Moyers speaks out against censorship in new video essay
Award-winning broadcast journalists Bill Moyers and Judith Davidson Moyers have been named Honorary Co-Chairs for the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week (Sept. 30 – Oct. 6), the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual celebration of our freedom to read.
Bill Moyers, the host of “Moyers & Company” on public television and a long-time supporter of Banned Books Week, has produced a video essay addressing the importance of our freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
“Censorship is the enemy of truth, even more than a lie,” said Bill Moyers. “A lie can be exposed; censorship can prevent us from knowing the difference.”
Moyers’s video is part of the Virtual Read Out, an advocacy campaign to spotlight the harms of censorship of books in schools and libraries, and provide an opportunity for readers to demonstrate their support for the First Amendment by reading from their favorite banned or challenged books. The video will be released on Sept. 28 on YouTube to encourage librarians, teachers, students and community members to stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
Those interested in participating in the Virtual Read-Out can do so by uploading a three-minute video to a special Banned Books Virtual Read-Out YouTube channel. More than 800 videos were uploaded during Banned Books Week last year and included posts from highly acclaimed and/or frequently challenged authors Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Lauren Myracle and many more.
In one submitted video by Bookmans, an independent bookstore in Arizona, customers and staff recite a single line from challenged book that testifies to the importance of books, reading and freedom of speech while a light bulb shines overhead to encourage viewers to “turn on the light” to celebrate free expression.
In 2011, the American Library Association recorded 326 challenges to library materials. At the top of the most challenged list was a series of books written by Lauren Myracle in the form of text messages, including “ttyl, ttfn” and “l8r g8r.” Other frequently challenged titles in 2011 included the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
Collaborating with his wife and creative partner, Judith Moyers, for more than 25 years, Bill Moyers has produced groundbreaking TV series and specials including “NOW with Bill Moyers,” “Bill Moyers Journal” and “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.” His latest book, “Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues,” was released last year. Judith Moyers is the Executive Editor of “Moyers & Company” and CEO of Public Affairs Television, their independent production company. For more information about Bill and Judith Moyers, please visit http://www.BillMoyers.com .
For more information about book challenges and bans in your area, or a listing of Banned Books Week events sponsored by libraries, bookstores and other groups throughout the United States, visit the Banned Books Week website at http://www.ala.org/bbooks .
Banned Books Week is sponsored by ALA, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Association of College Stores, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center. Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and Project Censored.