Mikhail Varanets Wins Trial with Belarusian TV
Minsk Pershamayski Borough Court decided that in “Panorama” program Belarusian State TV and Radio Company and the journalist Mikalay Melyanichenka distributed false information about the activity of the public association “Will for Development” the its head Mikhail Varanets. On 14 February the court considered the suit of “Will for Development” on protection of its business reputation and of Mikhail Varanets on protection of his dignity.
According to the court decision, within 10-days’ term Belarusian State TV and Radio Company will have to read the operative part of the court verdict at “Panorama” program. For instance, the company will have to disprove the statement “According to some information, beside the teenage club Mr. Varanets created so-called resource center with the aim to finance opposition structures and ran so mad about it that the teenage club became an underactor... If international funds don’t give any financial support to this misfit businessman, his shady activity will stop”.
During the trial the defendants didn’t present any evidence that this information was true and had to confess it was their personal opinion. The libeling nature of this information was evident to all participants of the trial.
Yury Chavusaw who represented the interests of “Will for Development” at the trial thusly commented on the court decision:
-- Despite the fact that the court supported only a part of our demands – for instance, we weren’t given the right to speak at Belarusian TV to answer to the libels, we are satisfied with the court decision. It seems to me it is the unique case when we managed to disprove the libeling propaganda of the state TV. Naturally Belarusian State TV and Radio Company have the right to file a cassation complaint, but at present our moral victory is proved and the reputation of the public association “Will for Development” is spotless.
According to the court verdict, Belarusian State TV and Radio Company will also have to pay all court expenses of the plaintiff on this case.
Information Department of HRC “Viasna”