STATEMENT by Belarusian Association of Journalists with respect to the situation around the Narodnaia volia
The Belarusian authorities have delivered the most powerful blow on the independent press of the recent time. The only independent daily in Belarus the Narodnaia volia now faces the threat of suspension – from 1 October dozens of thousands of its readers may not be able to receive their favorite publication.
Thought the editorial office has already transferred more than 70 million rubles of the 100 million rubles awarded by a court ruling in favor of a deputy of the Chamber of Representatives Siarhei Haidukievich, the state officials hurried to cancel the relations of the subordinate services (printers, distribution networks) with the newspaper. The reasons indicated in the letters about the cancellation of relations with the newspaper are not only legally incompetent but also cynical.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists assesses the actions of the Belarusian authorities with respect to the Narodnaia volia as an obviously illegal act aimed at destroying an independent periodical prior to important public events.
Belarusian Association of Journalists urges the Belarusian and international community to extend their solidarity to the editorial office of the newspaper Narodnaia volia and make a protest with respect to further escalation of the violations committed by the Belarusian authorities against the Constitution of Belarus, the laws of the country and the international commitments in the field of the freedom of speech.
Statement adopted at the session of the Board of Belarusian Association of Journalists on 29 September 2005.