THE ECHO INDEPENDENT WEEKLY SUSPENDED FOR 3 MONTHS Last issue of the newspaper was published by the editorial board of the suspended BDG (BAJ press-service)
On 4 June Information Minister Mikhail Padhainy suspended The Echo newspaper. Its last issue was prepared by the journalists of The BDG newspaper, suspended earlier. The same very day Uladzimir Tselesh, director of Chyrvonaya Zorka publishing house cancelled contracts with The Echo and The Predprinimatelskaya Gazeta, which was the next one to publish materials of The BDG journalists. The same very day, June 4, the Ministry of Information dismissed Tselesh from his post.
According to the Minister’s order, The Echo weekly is suspended in conjunction with flagrant violation of the legislation on press. In particular, the weekly infringed Art 11 by changing the legal address of the editorial board, the edition themes, and the title. The newspaper was suspended on the ground of the two warnings, issued under the law.
Only one issue of Echo-BDG managed to come out (4 June 2003). It was distributed through private salesmen and BDG subscription list. Belsayuzdruk, state-owned distribution agency, refused to distribute the newspaper, referring to the fact that it was BDG, not Echo-BDG in the contract.
The same day U. Tselesh, director of the publishing house wrote the following letter to the BDG editorial board: “In conjunction with unsatisfactory state of the printing equipment and impossibility to execute the contracts on printing The Echo and The Predprinimatelskaya Gazeta, I apologize and inform You that we will not take the newspapers for printing since June 4, 2003. Please, consider the contracts cancelled”.
According to BAJ, U. Tselesh was dismissed from his post right after he had signed the letter. (According to the working contract, the Ministry of Information is the employer of Chyrvonaya Zorka director). The Ministry of Information confirms this fact, but refuses to determine the official reasons for the director’s dismissal.