OSCE Representative Believes Mass Media Have Serious Problems in Belarus
-- For the 14 years of independence of Belarus the interference of the state with the activity of mass media not only hasn’t decreased but continues to increase, --stated the OSCE representative on freedom of mass media Miklos Haraszti on 11 February during the briefing on the results of his visit of Belarus.
M. Haraszti said that during his visit he met with a number of the state officials, including the minister of communications Uladzimir Hancharenka, the minister of information Uladzimir Rusakevich, the head of the regular commission on human rights, international relations and mass media Yury Kulakowski and vice-minister of foreign affairs. During his visit he had more meetings with representatives of state organs, because the aim of his visit was to assist the return of Belarus to cooperation within the agreement with the OSCE. According, to M. Haraszti, Belarus has serious problems with press, which could be solved with the assistance of the OSCE. Among such problems he mentioned the deficient, “limiting” law on mass media. At present Belarus is the only of the 55 OSCE countries where a person can be imprisoned for insult of the head of the state, pointed M. Haraszti. He also thinks that it is inadmissible for the state officials to suspend the activity of mass media. To his mind, this right belongs only to the court. He also criticized the absence of public TV in Belarus. At the same time, the information minister stated that it is impossible to start non-state TV in Belarus.
Press-service of Belarusian Association of Journalists