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Volha Malafeyechava, Belarus

August 13, 2013
Volha Malafeyechava, Journalistin aus Weißrussland. Teilnehmerin und Gewinnerin des Deutschen Medienpreis Entwicklungspolitik 2013, Region Europa/ Zentralasien.
Image: privat

Volha Malafeyechava studied marketing at the Brest State Technical University, but even during her time there, she began publishing articles about student life in the college newspaper. The journalism bug had bitten. After getting her diploma, she began writing online articles for RadioSTART, an internet radio station. Early on, she also hosted a show called "Freak-a-daily," which featured discussions on problems faced by youth.

Recently, after attending journalism workshops in the capital Minsk, Malafeyechava developed a greater interest in social issues, such as the revival of the Belarusian language and culture and the country's attitude toward the death penalty. She also began supporting projects to preserve Belarus' historic and cultural patrimony and help develop agrotourism.

In her winning entry, "A gay man’s story," Malafeyechava lets Sergei Androsenko, a young gay man, speak at length about growing up in a culture where homophobic attitudes are still widespread. He talks of the first realization of his sexuality, about his difficulties having no one to talk to about being gay, and of his mother’s reaction to his coming out. While Malafeyechava's article focused on one man's journey, its themes apply to many gay and lesbian youth in the region. The article sparked discussions of tolerance and homophobia in Belarus, whose strongman President Alexander Lukashenko once remarked, "it's better to be a dictator than gay." RadioSTART showed courage in publishing this work, since even talking about LGBT issues in Belarus or Russia can invite trouble from officials.

Link to "A gay man's story"

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