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Talk about long distance editing

But when the cause is to maintain an independent arts & culture magazine in a country that, to say the least, frowns on that sort of thing, there’s no stopping editor and Johns Hopkins graduate student Irina Vidanava:

[...]then there’s what she calls “my night job” — as editor of Student Thought, perhaps the most edgy and professional publication left in Belarus, where the government has been ruthlessly shutting down all independent media. Although Minsk is almost 5,000 miles away, she still works — with cell phone and e-mail — to keep alive the magazine she has edited since 1998. But as Belarus, a landlocked country sandwiched between Poland and Russia, prepares for an election in March, things have never been more difficult.

Last month, the government seized all but a handful of copies of the magazine. And now Vidanava is under investigation for financial crimes and infractions against the country’s draconian press laws.

If charged, the 27-year-old editor could face a huge fine and up to six years in prison. But it’s hard to know exactly what’s happening with her case in Belarus. One investigator is on vacation; another has given no word on where things stand.

The magazine claims it isn’t political, but even its Western-themed pieces seem to have rankled the Belarus government, called “the last true dictatorship in Europe.” So will Vidanava go back to fight her case? If she’s charged, yes:

“I am Belarusian,” she says. “That’s the most important thing, and I love my country. I feel comfortable there despite all the problems. And I want it to be better.”

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