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  • Lohvinau Awarded with IPA Freedom to Publish Prize

    On April 7 in London the International Publishers Association awarded the Freedom to Publish Prize to Belarusian publisher Ihar Lohvinau.

    “In Octo­ber 2013, Belarus’ Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion with­drew Ihar Lohvinau’s licence to pub­lish, due to “tres­pass­ing the rules of licens­ing”. They accused Lohv­in­au and his team of “extrem­ism”. The rea­son was the pub­li­ca­tion of “Belarus Press Pho­to 2011”, a cat­a­logue of pho­tographs that includes this image of a pro­test­er who has been beat­en up by the police,” writes IPA in the nom­i­nee pro­file.

    Ihar Lohv­in­au did not appear at the award­ing evening, send­ing his rep­re­sen­ta­tive instead, but gave an inter­view to the BAJ press-ser­vice.

     “The very fact of sup­port is impor­tant for us because we are in the ter­ri­to­ry of non-guar­an­tees here, so to  say. And the prize is recog­ni­tion, pub­lic out­cry, which is at least a min­i­mum guar­an­tee of our sur­vival and safe­ty. If we did not have all these inter­na­tion­al con­tacts, every­thing would be shot from the hip with no doubts,” says Ihar Lohv­in­au.

    The pub­lish­er is not sit­ting with fold­ed hands after he was deprived of the license.

    “Our best writ­ers found­ed a pub­lic orga­ni­za­tion in Lithua­nia which is called not a pub­lish­ing house, but more broad­ly — a “lit­er­ary house”. They start­ed pub­lish­ing books there and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly do projects con­nect­ed with pro­mo­tion of Belaru­sian lit­er­a­ture abroad. The name Lohv­in­au has been pre­served to pub­lish the books under our old brand”.

    “I am sure that this is a tem­po­rary deci­sion. Any­way, absur­di­ty can­not last with no end. I see my task to under­line at all pos­si­ble plat­forms how absurd licens­ing and reg­is­tra­tion of book pub­lish­ing and book sell­ing in Belarus. Even Rus­sia does not have it, with all the ide­o­log­i­cal ter­ror nowa­days.”

    A press-con­fer­ence with the pub­lish­er Ihar Lohv­in­au will take place in Octo­ber at the inter­na­tion­al book fair in Frank­furt.

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