Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Belarus7 August 2002

Authorities target two more independent newspapers

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its utmost concern about the fate of the independent press in Belarus after the Minsk independent daily Nasha Svoboda was sentenced on 2 August to pay a fine that threatens its survival and as authorities continue with plans to prosecute the independent newspaper Rabochy. These moves were preceded by the jail sentences imposed in June on the editor and a journalist of the Grodno opposition newspaper Pagonya.

"The government succeeded in getting rid of Pagonya and now pursues its sham justice by attacking Nasha Svoboda and Rabochy", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Information Minister Mikhail Podgainy. "We ask you to drop all these abusive proceedings against independent newspapers. We also ask you to modify the penal code in order to eliminate prison sentences for defamation, in particular article 367/2 concerning defamation of the President of the Republic."

On 2 August, journalist Mikhail Podolyak and his newspaper, Nasha Svoboda, were sentenced to fines of 15 million and 100 million Belarusian rubles respectively for libeling Anatoly Tozik, president of the Committee for State Control. On 1 August, the day before the trial started, authorities seized Nasha Svoboda’s computers.

Meanwhile, Rabochy editor Viktor Ivaskevich faces a possible five-year jail sentence when he comes to trial on 11 September for allegedly defaming President Alexander Lukashenko under article 367/2 of the penal code in a report that appeared in a special elections issue in summer 2001. As a result of the report, entitled "A thief belongs in prison", 40,000 copies of the special issue were confiscated.

Previously, on 24 June, Pagonya editor Nikolay Markevitch and one of the newspaper’s journalists, Pavel Majeyko, were sentenced to prison terms with hard labour for allegedly defaming President Lukashenko. Their appeal is due to be heard on 15 August.




  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