Quoted in the Guardian, demanding free speech for the publishers of Belarus

From Wednesday, a Guardian report about the legal harassment of radical publisher Ihar Lohvinau:

English PEN slammed the law introduced in Belarus in 2013 for the licensing of publishers, calling it “a threat to literary development”. The law requires publishers to register with the ministry of information, with the potential of a licence being denied if the publisher is found to have been “carrying out licensed activities with aims contradicting the interests of the Republic of Belarus”.

An October open letter from organisations including English PEN, German PEN, the International Publishers Association, PEN International and the Publishers Association UK to Belarusian ministers called this “overly broad language, that we fear will be used to censor anyone seeking to challenge, criticise or question the government, and discourages the publication of radical or satirical books”.

On Wednesday, Robert Sharp at English PEN said that “the culture of Belarus is suffering as a result” of the new law. “We call on the Belarusian authorities to drop all actions against Lohvinau,” he added.

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