Ihar Lohvinau is going to submit an appeal to the Belarusan Minister of Information asking to review the court decision, after his album Belarus Press Photo 2011 was considered to be extremist.
On September 23 the private entrepreneur Ihar Lohvinau was informed that his license for publishing activities had been withdrawn.
The document was signed by Liliya Ananich, deputy of the Minister of Information, informs BAJ. The license was withdrawn because of “rough violations of the legislation on licensing”. The matter deals with publishing of the Belarus press Photo 2011 photo album which had been recognized extremist by the Ashmiany court on April 18, 2013.
“We think that the license had been suspended unlawfully, with many violations, so we have already sent a letter to the Minister of Information Aleh Praliaskouski,” said a representative of the publishing company.
According to Andrei Bastunets, the deputy chair and lawyer of BAJ, the law does not entitle the Minister of Information to taking such measures, and also the procedure of license suspension has been violated.
“I would like to draw attention to the fact that when the publishing house was not involved in the Belarus Press Photo 2011 case in any status. But now the decision of the trial has been made the ground for withdrawing the license,” remarked the lawyer. “If the Ministry does not change their mind, the situation can be resolved only in court.”
To support Lohvinau Publisher House, Belarusian Association of Journalists directed a petition to the Ministry of Information of Belarus. The petiotion was signed by 20 journalists from eight journalists’ organizations: 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,” says the petition.
“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”, - is stated in the petition.
The publisher house Lohvinau has been one of the leading publishers of the Belarusian literature, claim the petitioners, adding that “the withdrawal of the license inflicts great damage to the culture of Belarus, the same as to the image of the country”. Because of that, they “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.