“Reporters without borders” go to bat for Belarusian oppositional newspapers
The new law on mass media gives the authorities a possibility to tighten control on the press.
As BelaPAN informs, the international human rights organization “Reporters without Borders” has condemned stepping up pressure on mass media in Belarus in the run-up to the presidential elections.
I the their statement of August 17 the defenders of journalists’ rights state that two major oppositional newspapers, “Narodnaya Volya” and “Nasha Niva”, have received two official warnings from the Ministry of Education and are under the threat of shutting-down.
“Reporters without borders” note that the both publications had not been able to be included in the state subscription catalogue for three years. In 2008 the European Union and Belarusian authorities reached an agreement to return them to state monopoly structures of retail trade and subscription.
Human rights activists fear that “the warnings pave the way to the new state ban before the beginning of the election campaign”.
“Reporters without borders” also believe that the new Belarusian law on mass media, which came in force on February 2, 2009, “gave a possibility to tighten control over the press, despite of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Belarus, which obliges to guarantee freedom to collect, receive and share information and opinions”.