News for June 2008

26.06.2008 Political parties will withdraw their candidates if not allowed to join constituency commissions

The democratic parties reserve the right to withdraw their candidates in case the authorities refuse to include representatives of the parties to constituency electoral commissions for election of “chamber of representatives” deputies. It has been stated by leaders of oppositional political parties at the press-conference in Minsk today.

25.06.2008 Authorities increase pressure on human rights activists before parliamentary elections

The day when the human rights activists declared their intention to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections, June 12th, the First Channel of the Belarusian TV advertised a news item which insults the honor and dignity of the human rights defenders. Later the video was demonstrated by the Panarama news program on Sunday.

While state-controlled media are trying to discredit the human rights activity, the authorities started detailed examination of tax history of the human rights defenders. During the recent 10 days the Ministry of Taxes and Duties demanded declarations about income and property from BHC chair Aleh Hulak, the former chair of BHC Tatsiana Protska, vice-President of FIDH Ales Bialiatski, BHC member Zmitser Markusheuski, human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovic, and their family members.

25.06.2008 Statement of Belarusian Association of Journalists

The Belarusian Association of Journalists expresses its protest in relation with the adoption of a new Law «On Mass Media» after the 2nd reading by the Chamber of Representatives at the National Assembly of Belarus.

24.06.2008 Belarusian Draft Law "On Mass Media" Adopted after the 2nd Reading

The Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus has adopted the Law «On Mass Media» after the 2nd reading. 96 MPs supported the bill and 2 parliamentarians voted against it, the «Interfax-West» News Agency informs.

The Head of Committee on Human Rights, National Relations and Mass MediaYury Kulakouski says, a range of proposals from the «SB. Belarus Today» («The Soviet Byelorussia»), «The Economic Newspaper», the Belarusian Association of Journalists and the OSCE representative’s on Media Freedom Office were included in the final version of the draft law.

23.06.2008 European Parliament member Jacek Protasiewicz does not believe election in Belarus will be free

“It is very difficult to build a long-term policy towards Belarus, and results of the election should be waited for,” Jacek Protasiewicz, noted in an interview to the Polish Radio.

20.06.2008 Protest rally against extortions in prisons

Today Ales Kasach came out on Kastrychnitskaya Square with a poster with the aim to attract attention of the regime to arbitrariness of Shklou colony’s staff, but policemen expelled him away from the square immediately.

20.06.2008 Ministry of Justice doesn’t understand aims of Christian democrats

The organizing committee on creation of the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) has received a letter from the Ministry of Justice saying this public association was denied registration.

19.06.2008 Vitsebski kurier newspaper warned

The Vitsebsk-based independent newspaper Vitsebski kurier was warned by the Ministry of Information for possessing a false editorial address and failing to inform the Ministry of their new address.

19.06.2008 Zhanna Litvina: new mass media law will ruin Belarus-Europe dialogue

According to Zhanna Litvina, head of Belarusian Association of Journalists, by passing the regressive mass media bill Belarusian authorities will ruin Belarusian dialogue with EU bodies. - The bill is essential for our society, so why is it passed so fast then? There only one reason for that – after the upcoming parliamentary election the new deputies will blame the old parliament members for having adopted this bill, says Litvina.

19.06.2008 Liabedzka warned for request to investigate Belarusian weapons export

UCPB leader Anatol Liabedzka was summonsed to the General Prosecutor’s office where he was warned of possible responsibility for libel as far as his request to investigate Belarusian weapon trade with Venezuela is concerned.

19.06.2008 New Mass Media Law passed

Belarusian parliament has approved the bill that will considerably limit the rights of on-line mass media in the country, including obligatory registration of web resources that will be performed by the government.

19.06.2008 Book about Parsiukevich released

Vitsebsk committee ‘For the Freedom of Siarhei Parsiukevich’ has issued a book about the political prisoner. The edition features a number of articles on the history of Parsiukevich’s detention and imprisonment. The book will be distributed among Vitsebsk businessmen and authorities.

19.06.2008 Pastor tried for holding a mass

Pastor Leanid Akalovich was fined 1,000,000 roubles for consecrating a cross installed in the village of Drazhna (Minsk region) in honour of 25 peaceful people killed by Soviet partisans in 1943.

19.06.2008 Detentions in Brest

Four young activists were detained during a Solidarity Day action in Brest on 16 June. The participants were standing in a line and holding the portraits of political prisoners. Two female activists were finally released without any charges.

19.06.2008 National Bolsheviks appeal for official status

The notorious pro-violence National Bolsheviks have held a constituent assembly of a new organization The New Bolshevik Platform, which will soon try to obtain official status through appealing for registration to the Ministry of Justice.

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