European Union and Norwegian Union of Journalists made on 18 November statements on the situation with the independent media in Belarus.
This information has been provided by the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
The Norwegian Union of Journalists that unites about 9000 members and is a member of the International Journalists’ Federation condemned the pressure exerted by the government on the privately-owned media in Belarus. “The decision of the state-owned company Belposhta to stop the distribution of the privately-owned periodicals in the year of the presidential elections is yet another serious blow on the freedom of expression in Belarus... The Norwegian Union of Journalists views the Belposhta decision as part of the cynical campaign that seeks to eliminate independent sources of information prior to the presidential elections”, says the statement by the Norwegian journalists.
The European Union expressed its “serious concern” over the Belposhta decision not to include into the subscription catalog for the first half-year of 2006 the newspapers Zhoda, Narodnaia volia and Salidarnasts, which may “severely limit” distribution of these periodicals.
“The insufficient preservation of the media freedom and the freedom of expression in Belarus continues to be a matter of serious concern for the European Union”, says the statement. Its authors remind that they have repeatedly urged the Belarusian authorities to stop discriminating against the independent media. “Unfortunately, we must say that the situation in this field continues to get worse”, says the document.
The European Union emphasizes that the freedom of expression and the media freedom are the major components of any democratic society, and calls the Belarusian authorities to "accept the assistance from the OSCE representative for Press Freedom so that the situation can be improved".
The statement says that the EU countries urge the Belarusian authorities to “cancel the legal and administrative measures that limit the operation of the independent media, and, as a rule, broad access to such media". The statement made by the EU members was also joined by Ukraine, said BelaPAN.