What you don't know CAN hurt you
They are glimpses of everyday life in Belarus, a country not often viewed in such intimate detail. Belarus gained its independence from USSR in 1991, but maintains close ties to Russia and remains under the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko. The 2013 Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, listed Belarus 157th among the 179 countries studied.
These are the winning images for the annual independent Belarus photo exhibit, the photos show everything from a marriage, to wide-eyed owls, from sporting events to protests.
But in 2012, organizers of the exhibit were detained briefly and questioned by authorities as they returned to Belarus from an exhibit of the photos in Lithuania. They were accused of organizing an "extremist" exhibit and books containing the images were seized. The photos were deemed to "insult the national honor and dignity of the citizens." The arbitrary harassment underscored the challenges faced by Byelorussian journalists, which the Committee to Protect Journalists has listed as one of the world's 10 most censored countries.
Purchase a print
At our 16th annual CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, prints of the photos below were available for purchase. There are still a number of prints available. If you are interested, please contact Tom Henheffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-515-9622, ext. 226 for more details.