Supreme Economic Court Rejects "BDG" Suit to Information Ministry
On 19 February 2004 the Supreme Economic Court didn’t satisfy the suit of “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” with the demand to set aside the warning, issued to the newspaper on 26 December 2003.
The warning mentioned three articles by Siarhey Satsuk: “Fled through Window. Serial Maniac Breaks Myth about Prison Impregnability” (“BDG” of 24 September 2003, #82), “Alone against All” (“BDG” of 1 October 2003, #2004) and “Non-existent Attempt” (“BDG” of 12 November, #96). The Ministry took the opinion that in these articles the newspaper “distributed false information” which is a violation of article 32 of the Law on press.
The warning was initiated by KGB that applied to the Ministry of Information and “supplied it with the necessary materials”. According to Andrey Bastunets, who represented the newspaper at the trial, in this case the Ministry of Information actually overtook the functions of the court, whereas, according to the Law on press, the institution the rights of which were violated by the false information are to demand its reproof by applying to the editorial staff of the newspaper and apply to court only in the case of refusal.
A. Bastunets also points out that all of the three articles were in the genre of journalistic investigation. “The KGB reaction demonstrates the attitude of state organs to this direction of journalistic activity”, -- thinks the lawyer.
The court decision has acquired legal force and can be complained against only in the supervisory order.
So, at present, “BDG” has three warnings. Two of them were left in force. Now the editorial staff will complain against the third one, issued for violation of article 5 of the Law on press.
Press-service of the PA “Belarusian Association of Journalists”