Belsposhta Excludes Zgoda Newspaper from Distribution Catalog for First Half of 2006
Belarusian state holds the monopoly in distribution of printed editions. This kind of activity is licensed. Besposhta (Belarusian Post) state distribution net excluded the non-state newspaper Zgoda from the distribution catalog. The editorial office of the newspaper was informed about it by a letter from Iryna Samsonava, Belposhta chief director. As it happened in the cases of the non-state newspapers Salidarnasts and Narodnaia Volia, Belposhta refers to inexpediency of further cooperation. The also enterprise accuses Zgoda in violation of the conditions of the agreement and draws several cases when the editorial office didn’t timely inform it about the postponement of the issue day or wasn’t issued in the due time.
Aliaksiei Karal, Zgoda chief editor, in his turn, says he always informed the enterprise about the changes in the issue schedule. He emphasizes that on 25 April the newspaper wasn’t issued because of the search that was conducted at the editorial office on 24 April and during which the police took away the computers.
-- If agreements with three newspapers are broken at once, one should search for the reason elsewhere, -- assures A. Karal. He considers this step as the continuation of the long-run company on clearing of the informational space on the eve of the presidential election of 2006.
-- The operation was started in advance to make newspapers look as if they disappear for non-political reasons, -- thinks A. Karal. To his mind, by liquidating all the ways for legal printing and distribution of newspapers in Belarus the authorities prepare to their complete liquidation.
Aliaksandr Starykievich, chief editor of Salidarnasts newspaper, gave the following commentary concerning the exclusion of the newspapers from the distribution catalog:
-- The latest events again confirm the intention of the authorities to completely liquidate independent press. I don’t know how we can fightback. It’s clear we must think what to do. Even Salidarnats and Narodnaia Volia survive – the next blow would be aimed at them or somebody else. I think the time of internet and DIY is coming for us. It doesn’t mean that I call all journalists to act in underground: we must issue the newspapers legally as long as we would have such possibility, but must keep in mind that little time is left.