No Pride 09 For Belarus

A small shipment of Pride ’09, which features my cover story interview with Rachel Maddow, was seized by Belarus authorities who don’t want gay magazines in their country.

Customs officials in Belarus have seized 25 copies of the magazine Pride, which is published by the international Pride group InterPride, whose membership includes Project GayBelarus. Siarhei Androsenka, he head of Project GayBelarus, was informed by customs officials in Minsk of the seizure at the end of last week. On Monday, he visited the customs office and was informed that the copies of the magazine had been seized as GayBelarus had no legal status and that the copies were not all for the personal use of the addressee, Sergey Androsenko. In a statement, posted on their Website, Project GayBelarus pointed out that in the “Republic of Belarus, the rights of freedom speech, distribution and reception of the printed information are often limited”. Belarus, often dubbed “the last dictatorship in Europe”, maintains tight State control over the media, including the import of foreign material. Small concessions are sometimes made as Belarus seeks improved relations with Europe.

Like many similar groups, Project GayBelarus has not been allowed to register as an organization in their country.