Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

A revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today's Afghanistan.

March 12, 2012

Suraia Rais had sued Seierstad in an Oslo court, claiming Seierstad had defamed her family and used “negligent” journalistic practices. Both she and her husband had also felt that Seierstad’s revelations of their lives invaded their privacy. The bookseller had allowed Seierstad to live in his home in Kabul while she collected material for her book.
Seierstad lost at the lower court level but won at the appeals court level, where damage claims against both Seierstad and her publisher were reversed. Rais then appealed to Norway’s Supreme Court.
Last week came news that the high court had refused to hear the case, meaning the appeals court decision stands and Seierstad prevailed.

The author of the publishing sensation The Bookseller of Kabul was found guilty of defamation and "negligent journalistic practices" last week after losing a case brought by a woman who claimed the bestseller depicted her in a humiliating, untruthful way that left her feeling "violated".

Legal experts say the ruling by Oslo district court will transform the way in which western journalists and authors write about people from poor countries. Åsne Seierstad was ordered to pay more than £26,000 in punitive damages to Suraia Rais, the second wife of bookseller Shah Muhammad Rais, with whose family the Norwegian writer lived for five months while researching her book.

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