JANUARY 16 WAS THE LAST DAY OF ISSUE OF INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER “REGION-VESTI” IN SVETLAHORSK
Regional department of Belarus’ distribution monopoly “Belpochta” informed the newspaper about terminating the distribution agreement. Since New Year the newspaper was publishing only TV listings, after local authorities banned local printer to print any information materials under the logo of “Region-Vesti”. In October 2003 “Region-Vesti” disappeared from the stalls of rural shops after the chair of local executive committee Balaslaw Pirshtuk saw it in one of village shops and banned local consumer society to sell the newspaper in its retail network.
In mid-2003 “Region-Vesti” was booming. The newspaper has increased circulation, changed the design and started to publish in two colors, having concluded a contract with another, more modern printer in Rechytsa. The audience of the newspaper has grown. However, in September the Rechytsa printer terminated the contract with the newspaper and all efforts to find another printer in the region have failed. As a result, the newspaper had to publish in Minsk, which increased printing and delivery costs and resulted in loss of subscribers.
“It’s a pure political pressure”, the chief editor of the newspaper Mikola Pasedzka believes. “They have been after us for a long time, but became especially active after we started to take interest in the activities of local authorities. They issue all punitive orders orally, so that it would seem that our newspaper had closed by itself”, he adds.