Belarusian Journalists Apply to Information Minister
Based on BAJ information
On 4 August the PA “Belarusian Association of Journalists applied to the Minister of information with the request to explain the situation with the printing houses that refuse to work with certain independent editions. First of all it concerns the newspapers that have published articles, written by the journalists of the suspended “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta”.
This appeal was filed on the request of Anatol Vaytsiakhowski, founder and the main editor of the Baranavichy newspaper “Mestnaya Gazeta “Shag” (in the end of July Slonim and Niasvizh printing houses broke the agreements with the newspaper. Since that time no printing houses have accepted the edition for printing, referring to absence of the technical capacities.) BAJ considers this reasons as an invented one. For instance, the BAJ Board has the information that Slonim printing house is not loaded to the full extent. The Board members say that if they believed in this reason, they would have had to say that the exceptionally low technical and material provision of the mass media in Belarus.
BAJ also points out that the case of “Mestnaya Gazeta “Shag” is not the only one: the newspaper “Salidarnasts” has faced with the same problems. Aliaksandr Starykevch, its editor-in-chief, also thinks the newspaper is punished for cooperation with the “BDG”.
That’s why BAJ emphasizes that Belarusian legislation contains no prohibitions to give publicity to materials, written by journalists of suspended editions in other editions.
Keeping in mind that one of the functions of the Information Ministry is “to prevent the abuse of free editorial activity and development of the rights and liberties of citizens of the Republic of Belarus”, BAJ asked the Minister to answer whether the printing houses had really received the official recommendations not to print “Mestnaya Gazeta “Shag” and “Salidarnasts” as well as other editions that had published articles by the “BDG” journalists, and whether Belarusian printing houses had the technical capacities for printing these newspapers weekly with the circulation of 20 000 copies. BAJ also asked the Minister to find the polygraphic base in Belarusian for printing of these newspapers.
Information Department of PA HRC “Viasna”