Belarusian, Russian and British bands, among them NRM, Neuro Dubel, and the pop-duo Pet Shop Boys, and many other artists, have been put on a “blacklist” of artists banned in Belarus state media, according to bloggers who published a scanning of the list.
A list apparently drawn up by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus has been leaked to leading opposition figures including website Charter97. Sources inside State TV have not denied that the blacklist is in force. The official government position, however, is that such a list does not exist.
On the list are Belarus music bands such as Lyapis Trubetskoy, Palats, Krama, NRM, Neuro Dubel, Krambambula, Naka, and the singer Zmitser Vaytsiushkevich, are presumably banned in state media.
Russian bands like DDT, Naiv, and Tarakany, and the singer Dmitry Spirin, along with UK artists such as Neil Tennant and the Pet Shop Boys, Robert Luis and Tru Thoughts, Wah Wah 45, and 7 Samurai, are also on the list.
Actors on the list
Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sir Ian McKellen and Samuel West have allegedly been added to the list after they performed at an Index on Censorship event at the Young Vic with dissident theatre group the Belarus Free Theatre on 5 December 2010.
Kevin Kline and Kevin Spacey were added because they took part in a benefit for the company in New York, and recorded YouTube messages in support of free expression in Belarus
Sir Tom Stoppard has supported the Belarus Free Theatre for many years and has been a vocal opponent of President Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule. Currently, the secret police (KGB) has an arrest warrant out for Belarus Free Theatre co-founder Nikolai Khalezin.
'A clear provocation'
The head of the internet media department of the Belarusian Information Ministry, Vladimir Yadrintsev, told RIA Novosti that reports of the blacklist were “a clear provocation.” He added: “The Information Ministry did not initiate this”.
Belarus is ranked below Zimbabwe and Iran for freedom of expression.
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