On 16 June the editor of the Borisovskiye novosti was found guilty of libel

2005 2005-06-16T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

This information has been provided by the press-service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. The court in Barysau found Anatol Bukas, the editor of the Borisovskiye novosti, guilty of violating part 2 of Article 188 of the Penal Code of Belarus (defamation contained in a public speech or in the media) and part 2 of Article 189 of the Penal Code of Belarus (willful undermining of the person's dignity expressed in an obscene form). Judge Aliena Samtsevich imposed on him a fine of 40 basic units and three million rubles to compensate for moral damages caused to Vera Pratasievich, the editor of the Adzinstva newspaper that belongs to Barysau Town Executive Committee.
In November 2004 the procurator's office of Barysau brought criminal action against a critical article by Anatol Bukas published in the Borisovskiye novosti issue No.12 (18-24 March 2004). The article covered the actions of Vera Pratasievich, the editor of the Barysau Town Executive Committee newspaper Adzinstva.
The court viewed as libelous and degrading the phrases like "she is at a level of a stenographer working on a factory in-house paper…", "reports full of wishful thinking and lies presented in good faith…", "Ms Pratasievich … produced yet another fruit of her sick imagination…", etc.
According to A.Bukas, his article responded to three articles printed in the Adzinstva, where Vera Pratasievich called him "an ill-bred publisher", compared him with a mad cock, etc. No linguistic assessment of these articles as requested by A.Bukas was conducted.
The hearings in the case started in the court of Barysau on 29 April. On that day Ms Pratasievich also filed a suit for moral damages worth 5 million rubles, referring to the fact that she felt very bad after the article by A.Bukas appeared.
The senior editor of the Borisovskiye novosti is sure that the case against him was brought on the initiative of the town executive committee. "Acting unfairly, they try to eliminate the rival to the official newspaper whose circulation and popularity are far behind ours, and by doing so they want to shut down the publication that does not print altogether pleasant articles for the Town Executive Committee", believes A.Bukas. According to his information, the other day during a meeting with the instructors of Barysau Teachers' Training College Vasil Burhun, chair of the town executive committee, advised the teachers not to waste money on the subscription to the Borisovskiye novosti because, as he said, the newspaper would be shut down anyway.