Belarusan publisher awarded with the IPA Freedom to Publish Prize
12.04.2014 |Society| EuroBelarus Information Service,
On April 7 in London the International Publishers Association awarded the Freedom to Publish Prize to Belarusan publisher Ihar Lohvinau.
Let us recall that 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. On September 23 the private entrepreneur Ihar Lohvinau was informed that his license for publishing activities had been withdrawn.
EuroBelarus Information Service also reported that on October 2013 Ihar Lohvinau was going to submit an appeal to the Belarusan Minister of Information asking to review the court decision.
Though Ihar Lohvinau did not appear at the awarding evening, he sent his representative instead. “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 in the interview with the BAJ press-service.
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 Belarusan 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.
The International Publishers Association (IPA) is an international industry federation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing. Established in 1896, IPA's mission is to promote and protect publishing and to raise awareness for publishing as a force for economic, cultural and political development. Around the world IPA actively fights against censorship and promotes copyright, literacy and freedom to publish. IPA is an industry association with a human rights mandate.