5 March 2007
Leading academics call on their publisher to end arms fairs
Noam Chomsky has become the latest academic to call on the academic publisher Reed Elsevier to end its role in the arms trade. 138 academics from 17 countries have written an open letter to Reed Elsevier, best known for publishing scientific and professional journals, demanding an end to the arms fairs it organises through its subsidiary company Reed Exhibitions.
Other prominent signatories include Michael Atiyah, one of the world's leading mathematicians and Rhona Macdonald, Senior Editor of The Lancet. Many signatories are regular contributors to Reed's publications. The letter follows similar protests from other Reed customers - writers and medical doctors. It comes only weeks after the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and F&C Asset Management sold their shares in Reed in protest at its arms fairs.
The letter states that:
"Arms fairs, marketing the tools of violence, are a major link in the chain of the global arms trade which proliferates arms around the world and fuels a cycle of human, economic and environmental destruction. This is entirely at odds with the ethical and social obligations we have to... consider at all times the moral responsibility we carry for our work. We call on Reed Elsevier to cease all involvement in arms fairs since the involvement is not compatible with our aims as stakeholders."
CAAT spokesperson Anna Jones said:
"Reed Elsevier's own customers - writers, doctors and academics - are lining up to insist that their arms fairs must end. Two of Reed's major investors have already ditched their shares. The time has come for Reed Elsevier to make a choice: reputable publisher or leading player in the arms trade? They can't be both."ENDS
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. Reed Elsevier runs arms fairs through its subsidiary company Reed Exhibitions. These include Shot Show (USA), IDEX (UAE), Latin America Area and Defence (Brazil), ITEC (Germany), Taipei Aerospace and Defence Technology Exhibition (Taiwan), Defence Services and Equipment International (DSEi, UK) and Helitech (UK). DSEi will next take place from 11th-14th September in London.
3. The open letter to Reed Elsevier was signed by 138 academics from 17 countries. A full copy of the letter is available on request. An edited version of the letter was published in the Times Higher Education Supplement on 2nd March 2007.
4. On 10th September 2005, leading medical doctors signed a letter in The Lancet (published by Reed Elsevier) calling for an end to Reed's involvement in arms fairs. A similar point was made by eight Booker Prize-winning novelists on 2nd March 2006.
5. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust sold all its shares in Reed Elsevier - worth nearly £2,000,000 - on 12th February 2007 after three years of critical engagement on the company's role in the arms trade. F&C Asset Management sold their shares following ethical concerns over the last DSEi arms fair in London.
6. CAAT spokespeople are available for interview on this subject.
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