’Vitebskiy Kurier’ still has problems with distribution
On 4 February in Vitsebsk, the police detained the newspaper distributeor Maryia Stsepaniuk and guarded her to the Chyhunachny district police department (DPD). Police Major Aleh Alt charged her with violating Article 22.9, part 2 of the Administrative Code, ‘distribution of periodical without registration in the Republic of Belarus’. Siarhei Blazhevich, DPD head, passed the case materials to court. All copies of the newspaper were confiscated from the detainee.
Short before this, on 2 February, Eduard Bahdasarau, Judge of the Vitsebsk Oblast Economic Court, dismissed the lawsuit of the private publishing enterprise Vitebskiy Korund against the Vitsebsk city executive committee that had refused to issue to it a license for retail sale of the newspaper because Vitebskiy Kurier was included on the list of the sold goods.
Vitebskiy Kurier is a newspaper that has been registered on 29 July 2009 in Smolensk, Russia by the Vitsebsk activists who used to issue the Vitebskiy Kurier M newspaper. The present founder of the newspaper is the Publishing House Zubr Ltd. Aleh Barshcheuski is the chief editor of the newspaper and Viktar Ramniou is its director.
Bear in mind that the issue of Vitebskiy Kurier has been suspended in the beginning of 2009 after the printing houses of the Vitsebsk oblast refused to cooperate with it and its was excluded from the state distribution net.
The editorial board of Vitebskiy Kurier intended to distribute the newspaper through subscription, but the state monopolist BelPoshta refused to include it in the subscription catalog for the first half of 2010. Vitsebsk ideologists prohibit distributing the newspaper even by private distributors referring to ‘absence of agreement of the Ministry of Information’.
However, the Ministry of Information assured the editorial board that there was no need in such agreement, as there was an interstate agreement on cooperation in the sphere of press (signed on 19 February 1998), and decision of the joint college board of the State Press Committee of the Russian Federation and the State Press Committee of Belarus of 15 February 1999, according to which the sides undertook ‘not to put any obstacles to distribution on the territory of the countries of the editions that are legally registered on the territory of the other side provided that the distribution of such information and materials doesn’t contradict to the national legislation’.
The editorial board is still going to appeal against the decision of the city executive committee and states that the newspaper will be issued irrespective of the decision of the authorities.