INDEPENDENT MEDIA ENCOUNTERED SERIOUS PROBLEMS DURING SUBSCRIPTION CAMPAIGN
Subscription campaign for the next 6 months will end on December 24. The advertising campaign is in its highest peak in first half of December. Its conditions should be equal for all editions, despite patterns of ownership. Nevertheless, some non-state newspapers encountered serious obstacles during the advertising campaign.
Non-state newspaper the Belorussky Rynok (Belarusian Market) signed a contract for placing its advertising leaflets in subway trains and in slide-boxes between Kastrychnitskaya and Kupalawskaya stations. One could see BR advertising in subway trains only for a week instead of two. Slide-box advertising was on only for six days instead of a month.
Under the contract, signed by the newspaper with the head of Minsk subway, leaflets were supposed to appear on December 1, 2003 in 94 cars on both subway lines. The newspaper staff noticed that the advertising posters were not placed in every car. On December 8 the posters disappeared. Alexander Khomich, head of technical assistance department, responsible for placing advertising in subway cars, refused to explain the reasons for disappearance of the BR posters. “We just took them off, and that’s all!” – He replied to the question of Belarusian Association of Journalists.
Natalla Zhdanovich, BR vice director general , who signed the contract with the subway administration on November 25, told BAJ she had addressed Mr. Andreyew, head of Minsk subway, with a letter, informing him about wrecking of the newspaper advertising campaign. She demanded the return of the money for disregard of provision. On 17 December the subway administration returned the prepayment back to the newspaper.
Similar situation happened with slide-box advertising in the tunnel between Kastrychnitskaya and Kupalawskaya stations. The advertising was supposed to be kept there from December 2 to January 2. However, it disappeared on the sixth day. These advertising screens belong to an advertising agency, which rents room from the subway administration. The agency submits all dummy layouts to approval of the Department for Consumers’ Rights and Advertising Control of Minsk Administration Entrepreneurship Board. The Department deputy head Iryna Baryshnikava did not manage to explain the reasons for disappearance of the advertising posters. She recommended BAJ press service should contact deputy head of the Entrepreneurship Board Alexander Kudrawtsaw about that. Baryshnikava states she “did not give instructions to take the posters off”. Mr. Kudrawtsaw adhered to the same position. In his turn, he readdressed the question to deputy head of Information Board of Minsk administration Uladzimir Zubryk. In Mr. Zubryk’s opinion, the decision to take the posters off was made by Arts Council at the Committee for Architecture and Town-planning. According to Zubryk, now the council is working on development of new approaches to outdoor advertising in town. He believes the BR advertising did not satisfy the Council for “artistic reasons”.
“Most likely, some official saw your posters in the subway and decided ”to show leadership” this way”, -- comments Viachaslaw Khadasowski, BR chief editor.