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Belarus blackballs Hollywood stars

Belarus blackballs Hollywood stars
­Belarusian authorities have drawn up a blacklist of public figures, whose names are not to be mentioned in the country’s media. Among those blacklisted are Kevin Spacey, Jude Law and Tom Stoppard.

The lengthy list was recently forwarded to the offices of all state media outlets in Belarus, including newspapers, TV channels and radio stations. Consequently, it then leaked into the blogosphere.

Topping the list are cultural elite, who have been critical of Minsk, particularly those who have taken part in the global artistic campaign of solidarity with Belarus, including Hollywood stars such as Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, Sam West, Sienna Miller and Kevin Kline, playwright Tom Stoppard, Rolling Stones leader Mick Jagger and many others.

Many Russians have also made it to the blacklist, for instance, rock star Yury Shevchuk, writers Andrey Bitov and Viktor Yerofeyev, as well as the author of children’s books about the famous Cheburashka, Eduard Uspensky.

The global artistic campaign of solidarity with Belarus was launched in 2007. Tom Stoppard, Czech President Vaclav Havel and Mick Jagger became the first public figures to record video messages for the Belarusian people, supporting them on their path to freedom.

According to previous reports, the state television and radio broadcasting company had ratified a similar document, barring the broadcasting of films starring specific Hollywood actors. Films with the actors, critical of Belarus authorities have indeed vanished from state channels.

Meanwhile, Belarusian Minister of Information Oleg Proleskovsky has dismissed the report as a provocation.

«This so-called blacklist is nothing but an horrible fake,» he told the Belorussky Partizan daily.

Belarus, sometimes referred to as “Europe’s last dictatorship”, is severely criticized for violations of human rights. Following President Lukashenko’s December clampdown on opposition activists, the EU and the US slapped diplomatic and economic sanctions on the East European state.