NOVAYA GAZETA SMARHONI SUSPENDED FOR 3 MONTHS
On October 2 Information Minister Uladzimir Rusakevich signed the order to suspend the Novaya Gazeta Smarhoni independent newspaper.
The newspaper founder Ramuald Ulan learned about suspension from administration of the Svetach printing press. On October 2 the Svetach received the new issue for printing, Right after that the printing press administration received an oral order from the Ministry to stop printing.
Viktar Huretski, head of the Ministry’s registration department, confirmed the information about suspension. He says, “since February 3, when Ramuald Ulan’s businessman license was cancelled, the newspaper has been published by the bodies, which do not have this kind of activity listed in their Statutes”. Huretski explained, Ulan has to sign a contract with a company, which has the right to publish mass media, and create an editorial board. The head of the registration department stated, the suspension of the newspaper will be effective until Ulan creates an editorial board, but no more than 3 months.
Ulan hopes he will solve the problem soon, “if they really mean creation of an editorial board is enough”.
On February 3, 2003 Hrodna region economic court cancelled Ulan’s businessman license on the ground of failure to follow fire safety regulations and violations of labor legislation. Ulan found the new publisher – private farming company Kolas. After two months of cooperation a district court recognized the Kolas activity illegal and imposed a fine on the company. Ulan found yet new publishers – Lida branch of the Belarusian language Society, and a private entrepreneur.
The Novaya Gazeta Smarhoni exists since 1996. Since 1998 its circulation was higher than the circulation of the state-owned local Svetly Shlakh newspaper. In 2001 Ulan started registration procedures of two more regional newspapers – the Novaya Gazeta Ashmian and the Novaya Gazeta Astrawtsa. However, the district authorities did not permit to register the newspapers on their territory, although the regional economic court found their actions illegal. Then various state bodies started numerous check-ups of the newspaper.