The petition to the Belarusian Ministry of Information was signed by 20 journalists from eight journalists’ organizations.
Among the supporters of the petition, there is the International Federation of Journalists, the Trade Union of Journalists of Azerbaijan, the unions of journalists of Armenia, of Moldova and of Russia, the Independent Association of Journalists of Georgia, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, the Glasnost Defence Foundation (Russia). The petition was signed at the meeting “For safety, rights and independent standards for journalists in post-soviet countries” in Chisinau.
We are alarmed by the news that the Belarusian publisher Ihar Lohvinau has been stripped of the license,” the Belarusian Association of Journalists quotes the petition. “As the pretext, the Ministry of information refers to the decision of Ashmiany district court of Hrodna region on April 18, 2013 saying that the album Belarus Press Photo 2011, published by this publisher house, was extremist.
Meantime, the very fact of recognizing the photo album extremist triggered a negative reaction of the international community. The claim that the album distorts the reality looks absurd, as it is a collection of winning photos of a photography contest. As well as the respective authorities of the country look absurd being involved in recognizing the photo album as “extremist materials”.
The legislation against extremism must work to prevent serious crimes against the state and humanity, but not to be an instrument of censorship.
The publisher house Lohvinau has been one of the leading publishers of the Belarusian literature. We think that withdrawal of the license inflicts great damage to the culture of Belarus, the same as to the image of the country.
We call on the Ministry of Information to review its decision immediately”.
The letter signed on October 6 in Chisinau is to be sent these days to the receiver by the Journalists’ Union of Moldova.
Belsat, following BAJ