Ihar Hiermianchuk Memorial Honorary Diploma Awarded to Aliena Raubietskaia
The Norwegian PEN Centre and the Human Rights House Foundation in coordination with the Belarusian Association of Journalists founded Ihar Hiermianchuk Memorial Honorary Diploma "For Adherence to the Principles of Freedom of Speech" several days ago. The first diploma was presented to Ms. Aliena Raubietskaia, the Hrodna-located "Birzha Informacii" newspaper's editor-in-chief by the Belarusian Association of Journalists on the Global Freedom of Press Day on 3 May 2005.
Apart from Ihar Hiermianchuk Memorial Honorary Diploma, the BAJ has presented the organization's traditional diplomas "For Fidelity to the Trade" to several Hrodna journalists: Andrei Shantarovich ("Mestnaya Gazeta"), Natallia Makushyna ("Birzha Informacii"), Alina Suraviets ("Novaya Gazeta Smorgoni"), and Andrei Pachobut ("Pahonia" Internet Newspaper).
Hrodna wasn’t chosen as the place of the action occasionally: in 2004 this region became the “danger zone” for independent media, as it is pointed in the BAJ statement, adopted on the eve of 3 May. The document’s authors drew a number of examples of the suppression of the liberty of press in Hrodna in 2004, such as the imprisonment of the leaders of the businessmen’s movement V. Lievaneuski and A. Vasilieu, administrative punishment of Pavel Mazheika, Natallia and Anatol Makushyns for the picket “Journalists are tried in Hrodna”, Andrei Shantarovich – for the hunger strike of protest against the suspension of “Mestnaya Gazeta”, Andrei Pachobut – for the elucidation of a meeting of businessmen. The most eloquent is the case of “Birzha Informacii” newspaper – at first its chief editor Aliena Raubietskaia was fined for an article, and then the newspaper was suspended for three months for it as well. After this the newspaper still can’t renew its issue.
Information Department of HRC Viasna, according to the BAJ press service