Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Belarus10 September 2002

Editor of independent newspaper on trial for "insulting the President"

(JPEG) Reporters Without Borders expressed fears today that an independent newspaper editor, Viktor Ivaskevich, of the newspaper Rabochy, could be sent to prison if convicted of "insulting" Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. His trial begins tomorrow in Pervomaisky, Minsk.

"In the last few days, two Belarus journalists have begun serving prison terms of hard labour just for having done their job," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "It is unthinkable that Ivaskevich should be next on the list. The country’s laws that permit such abuses should be abolished once and for all."

"We repeat our request to the Council of Europe to impose clear conditions concerning freedom of information in moves for closer relations with Belarus, especially the matter of prison terms for defamation."

Ivaskevich faces five years in jail under article 367/2 of the penal code after he published an article in a special elections issue of the paper in the summer of last year, headed "A thief’s place is in prison," referring to President Lukasheko. His trial opens on 11 September.

Reporters Without Borders is associated with the campaign by the Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) for the abolition of articles 367, 368 and 369 of the penal code which threaten press freedom. These articles, which call for up to five years imprisonment for "insulting and defaming the president," were used to convict Nikolai Markevich (editor) and Pavel Mazheiko (journalist) of the opposition newspaper Pagonya and impose sentences of respectively a year and a year and a half forced labour, which they began serving at the beginning of this month.

  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

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

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

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