Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Belarus24 January 2007

After being evicted, Vitebsk-based newspaper is threatened with withdrawal of licence

читать на русском

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the information ministry’s attempts to force the closure of Vitebsky Kurier, an independent biweekly based in the northeastern city of Vitebsk. The ministry told the newspaper on 12 January, two days after it was evicted from its premises by the Vitebsk commercial court, that its permit will be withdrawn if it does not produce documents showing it has a new address within two weeks.

“This administrative manoeuvre is typical of the methods used by the Belarusian authorities to kill off independent newspapers, and it could mean the end of Vitebksy Kurier,” the press freedom organisation said. “News media are legally required to have an address approved by the government. If they do not, the government is free to terminate their operations and put the blame on them.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We are not fooled by this strategy. The weekly Den was forced to close in 2005 by the repeated cancellation of its rental contract and the newspaper Nasha Niva, has been the target of four procedures of the same kind.”

The oldest of Belarus’ independent newspapers, Vitebsky Kurier was notified by mail on 12 January that it could lose its licence, two days after commercial court judge Olga Gatilo gave the newspaper ten days to vacate the premises it had been renting from a private company since October. This was the second time in the past year that it has been forced to move.

The newspaper has long been the target of judicial and administrative harassment. The Belarusian postal service Belpochta struck it from the list of newspapers it distributes last year. As a result, it started using volunteers to distribute its issues to subscribers in Vitebsk and began using normal mail to distribute to readers living outside the city. A total of three lawsuits have been brought against the newspaper since last April.




  In this country
6 March - Belarus
Call for end to unofficial ban on foreign journalists
26 February - Belarus
Judge orders two issues of cultural magazine seized and destroyed
29 January - Belarus
In show of bad faith, government again refuses to issue press accreditation to Radio Racyja journalists
27 November - Belarus
Amid signs of tentative liberalisation, government urged to do more and to resist temptation to control Internet
26 September - Belarus
Media coverage of election campaign ignores political debates and opposition

in the annual report
Belarus - Annual Report 2008
Belarus - Annual report 2007
Belarus - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

Reports
5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison
archives

Sign the petitions
Uzbekistan
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives