“Reporters without Borders” React to Suspension of BDG Issue

2003 2003-06-05T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 30 May the international journalist organization “Reporters without Borders” urged Mikhail Padhayny, Minister of Information of Belarus, to set aside the order that suspended issue of Belarusian independent newspaper “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta. Dlya Sluzhebnogo Polzovaniya” for three months. The letter, filed to the Minister by the organization Head Rober Menar, states that the forcible suspension of the newspaper issue is one more assault on the independent press with the aim to benumb the journalists who criticize president Lukashenka. “This step contradicts to the law, as you didn’t wait for the court decision on the matter”, -- Mr. Menar added.

“Reporters without Orders” have also recollected the suspension of “Provintsialka” issue, the refusal of the authorities to coordinate the juridical address of the newspaper “Volny Horad” and liquidation of R. Ulan’s business license, reminded that three journalists, M. Markevich, P. Mazheyka and V. Ivashkevich, were still considered guilty of violations of the Criminal Code, the latter of them being kept in the open penitentiary institution.

On 30 May the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) from New-York reacted to the issue suspension as well. “Closure of the “BDG” shows that the authorities are craving to shut the newspaper as a punishment for its independent journalistic work”, -- the CPJ executive director Ann Cooper stated. “We urge the Belarusian authorities to stop the politically natured assault on press and urgently let renew the newspaper issue”.

On 29 May this event was commented by the Ukrainian Institute of Mass Information. “We have to pitifully fix the traits of censorship towards our colleagues by the Belarusian authorities and simultaneously state that Belarusian journalists can rely on our support. We urge Ukrainian human rights organizations to demonstrate their solidarity with the Belarusian journalists”, -- was said in the institute appeal.

Lugans Women’s Human Rights Organization “Chayka” was one of the first to react to the suspension: “We protest against the assault on liberty of word in Belarus. President Lukashenka and his command have become a shame in the eyes of both neighboring countries and other members of the international community. We hope that the Belarusian people will have enough force to defend its freedom and free press. We express our solidarity with the editorial staffs of the newspapers “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta”, “BDG. Dlya Slyzhebnogo Polzovaniya”, “Narodnaya Volya” “Vecherniy Stolin”, “Navinki” in their intention to give trustworthy information to the people and support development of democracy in the country”.

BAJ expresses sincere gratitude to all those who don’t consider closure and suspension of Belarusian non-State newspaper as “only Belarusian” or only journalist” issue. Only cooperative actions can really influence the situation in the country where journalists are denied the right to profession and ordinary citizens in the right to receive information”