In a Universal Periodic Review submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Freemuse argues that Belarus is failing to abide by its international commitments to fully protect the fundamental artistic freedoms of its citizens.
“Belarus should take active steps publicly to document and explain its censorship policy – not least its communications with media organisations concerning the broadcasting of works by artists,” said Ole Reitov, Executive Director of Freemuse.
In 2006, the Freemuse report ‘Hidden Truths’ documented several cases of censorship of music in Belarus. The regime continues to harass and censor artists, and the new Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submission by Freemuse examines the lack of protection of artistic freedom of expression and association in Belarus. Particular attention is given to the broadcasting and performance of popular music.
A number of prominent Belarusian rock musicians took part in the campaigns of alternative candidates in 2010 presidential elections and some clearly voiced their opposition after the violent dispersal of a post-election peaceful protest. During the post-election crackdown, unofficial “blacklisting” of artists returned to Belarus for the first time since a 2007 rapprochement between a group of musicians and Aleh Praliaskouski, then former of the Ideology Department of the Office of the President.
In private conversations, directors of radio stations recount being informed of a list of artists whose works could not be broadcast. The blacklist was communicated via phone calls so as to avoid printed evidence. Although the existence of the censorship list has been denied by the authorities, a staffer at a Minsk-based radio station claims to have posted it on the internet.
» Read the UPR submission:
» Listen to interview with Lavon Volski, banned musician in Belarus:
» Read article:
Belarus: Outspoken musicians endangered
» Read the 2006 report: