TV Censors Cut Out Anti-Referendum Calls from Candidates’ Speeches
Although CEC chairperson Lidya Yarmoshyna made a public statement that it was allowed to campaign against the referendum, while CEC secretary Mikalai Lazavik said that CEC would not regulate the procedure of campaigning in favor or against the referendum, local officials decided to introduce censorship. They censor all TV speeches of parliamentary candidates who express their attitude to the referendum.
Homel regional TV channel abridged the speech of Yawhen Furseyew, member of Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada. TV officials cut out the part where he spoke about referendum without his permission. Mr. Furseyew has already filed complaints to prosecutor’s office and Central Election Commission. He repeated the banned fragment of his speech for RFE/RL:
“My position about this issue is absolutely clear: No to third term! It is inadmissible to change the main law for the needs of one person. I am sure that 10 years of the presidential term – are absolutely enough. After that the power should be transferred to another president elected by people”.
The same kind of censorship happened to Barys Lawkovich, candidate of Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada” in Brest.
In Hrodna the TV channel refused to air the speech of parliamentary candidate Mikola Voran. The TV management did not explain the reasons to the head of Hrodna city BPF organizations. Mr. Voran thinks the following words did not get through the censorship:
“I am a representative of pro-democratic circles of society that challenge the ruling regime of Lukashenka, who brought the country to poverty, joblessness, and international isolation. I urge the voters to believe in themselves. The battlefield is a ballot box and a polling booth. To speak out as a citizen of the Republic of Belarus is to say definite “no” to Lukashenka and his plans to rule the country forever!”