Chief Editor of “Mestnaya Gazeta” Andrey Shantarovich on Hunger Strike
On 20 October the founder and chief editor of the “Mestanaya Gazeta” distributed in the towns of Vawkavysk and Smarhon went on hunger-strike. The newspaper has been suspended by the Ministry of Information. Mr. Shantarovich states he will hunger till Vawkavysk Town Executive Committee registers the juridical address of the newspaper. Besides, he demands that competent organs consider the materials with facts of violations of the electoral legislation during the election and the referendum, which he managed to get hold of.
In Shantarovich’s statement concerning the hunger-strike it is said that the suspension of “Mestnaya Gazeta” is far from being the first case of pressurization of the newspaper. According to him, it is prohibited to trade organizations to make agreements with it for distribution. For the three years of its existence the newspaper had to change four printing houses that stopped cooperation with it as a result of direct telephone calls from Vawkavysk TEC. The newspaper still can’t receive the agreement of this body to place its editorial office in Vawkavysk.
Andrey Shandarovich believes that the newspaper suspension on the eve of the election and the referendum is not an occasion. He considers it mockery of the readers and the workers of the editorial board. In response to his application the Ministry of Information advised him to publicly repent.
-- What am I to repent in? – asks Shantarovich, -- may be in the fact that our newspaper is read without orders from the above? That nobody orders anyone to subscribe to it? That we write the truth? That the circulation and the popularity of our newspaper excess the circulation and the popularity of the district newspaper? Is this our guilt?
-- I am fed up with waiting all the time, -- says Shantarovich in his application that was distributed on 20 October.
Press service of PA “Belarusian Association of Journalists”