Procurator's office warns senior editor of the Narodnaia volia
On 18 May Iosif Siaredzich, the senior editor of the Narodnaia volia was summonsed to the procurator's office of Belarus to be served an official warning for "unacceptability of the law violation and distribution of information on behalf of unregistered … public associations". The warning was signed by the deputy general procurator of Belarus Mikalai Kupryianau on 16 May.
The warning says the procurator's office analyzed the material about the activity of the civil association Will of the People published in February and concluded that that "the civil initiative Will of the People is not registered as a civil association, as required under the law".
Thus, the procurator's office argues that Mr. Siaredzich, in his capacity of the senior editor of the Narodnaia volia, violated Article 5 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On the press and other mass media". The repeated violation of this article will cause "legally provided measures" to be taken against I.Siaredzich and the editorial office of the Narodnaia volia.
Mikhail Pastukhou, the head of the Legal Support Center for Media of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, believes that the governmental agencies use too broad interpretation of the notion of a civil association, which enables them to considerably restrict not only the initiative of the Belarusian citizens, but also the activity of the media, through which they attempt to publicize themselves. He does not rule out that the authorities also used this article as a pretext for pressurizing the only independent daily published in Belarus.