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TuzinFM sues idelogues over banned concert

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Ales Dzianisau. Photo: Belsat

On September 16, Ales Dzianisau ("People on a Swamp", Dzieciuki) planned to launch his new program titled "Belarus' Short History" in Minsk. However, the official in charge of ideology at the Minsk City administration Paval Skabalan did not issue a permit for the concert citing "low artistic level" of the musician. 

The concert organizer Siarhei Budkin from the musical website TuzinFM regards this decision illegitimate and filed a lawsuit with the Economic Court.

"I don't understand how the level of artistic performance was measured, who did it and what criteria were used and why. Anyway, it should be up to listeners - not some bureaucrats - to decide. I am convinced that the actions of idelogues are absolutely illegal. Obviously, we are dealing with censorship in this case. It is sad they prevent us from supporting Ales Chobat - the author of lyrics for this album who has lost sight and lives alone in his house in Skidel. We wanted to pass some money earned at the concert to him," Siarhei Budkin says.

Pavel Skalaban is a son of Belarusian prominent archivist and historianVital Skalaban. It is very symbolic that it was him who banned the launch of a musical program on the history of Belarus. The album "Belarus' Short History" with lyrics by Ales Chobut is dedicated prominent figures and key events in our country's past Adam Mitskevich, Maksim Bahdanovich, Stanislau Bulak-Balakhovich, wars, uprisings, the struggle of Belarusians for independence.

Under Article 215 (1.3) in the Code of Belarus on Culture, which the idelogue referred to in order to justify his decision, a concert may not be allowed based on the "conclusion by an artistic board on cultural and entertainment events about a low artistic level of a performance." 

Screenshot: tuzinfm.by

"No relevant conclusion was issue. When asked to explain at least something about the refusal, the ideologue failed to respond," Siarhei Budkin continues.  Hence, I decided to appeal the decision by a state body in court."

Jurnalist and culture manager, Budkin is not optimistic about winning over a government official in court. But he still reckons it makes sense:

"One has to put it on record that some absolutely illegal actions are taking place. The names of people responsible for those actions should be written in history," Siarhei Budkin tells Euroradio. Naturally, I would like to hope for justice. But suing officials in a state court has doutbtful chances for victory in court. I think they will simply prepare and dateback a relevant conclusion. Anyway, it is an attempt to try to put light on how this artistic board works and what it consists of ."

Budkin's statement filed with the Economic Court has two requests: to recognize the actions of ideologues illegitimate and make them issue a concert permit for any date acceptable for the organizers.

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