STATE NEWSPAPERS LIE WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES
On 17 October Savetski borough court of Minsk turned down a suit against state-owned newspaper Savetskaya Belorussia and it Editor-in-chief Pavel Yakubovich. Valantsin Stefanovic, representative of the plaintiff says, they will complain against the court decision to Minsk city court. Alaksei Shydlowski sued Savetskaya Belorussia for spreading untrue information defaming him.
On 8 May 2002 the newspaper informed its readers that Alaksei Shydlowski had left his wife with a kid, when he was twenty. The newspaper said, he was convicted to imprisonment for alimony evasion. However, Shydlowski has never been married and has never had children. He was convicted for political graffiti. The article "Face with a Touch of Mind", published in Savetskaya Belorussia by it editor Pavel Yakubovich, had a biased nature and was devoted to the report on human rights situation in Belarus, made by the US State Department. Yakubovich obviously aimed at discrediting not only Alaksei Shydlowski, but other prisoners of consciousness in the eyes of the broad public.
In his suit Shydlowski asked the court to recognize that the information, spread by Savetskaya Belorussia, was not true, and insulted his honor, dignity and reputation. Shydlowski also asked to exact 6 million roubles from both defendants as a compensation of moral harm done to him.
Judge M. Fiodarava heard the case. Shydlowski's mother Raisa and girlfriend Iryna Towstsik testified in the hearing. Iryna said, she had been dating Alaksei since 1999, they planned to get married, but the newspaper article did a lot of harm to their relations.
Valantsin Stefanovic, member of Viasna, was Alaksei's representative in court.
The judge concluded, that although the spread information contradicted the facts, it was not defaming Shydlowski and did not make any moral harm.
According to p. 14 of the Supreme Court ruling # 15, made on 23/12/1999, such information does not need refutation.
It worth mentioning, that the hearing has been postponed several times because of the defendant's default.