Bialynichy pro-dem activist faces charges of illegal distribution of independent newspapers and alleged defamation
Bialynichy police lieutenant Siarhei Karytkin filed two police reports on alleged administrative offences committed by local civil society activist Valery Vusik. The first report deals with the alleged libel against the chairman of the “Lebiadzianka” state-owned farm Piotr Bialou, the other relates to distributing independent newspaper “Mahiliouski Vybar”, which allegedly constitutes a violation of Article 17 of the Media Law of the Republic of Belarus.
“The district inspector Siarhei Karytkin came to my house in the village of Lebiadzianka on February 26. He said he had filed two reports. I wrote about my disagreement with the information in both reports, saying that it was necessary to revise the numerous violations on the farm, and only then make any conclusions about libeling. In the other report, I indicated that I distributed independent media, including the “Mahiliouski Vybar” newspaper under the Law “On Mass Media” for a long time. This was confirmed in a telephone conversation by the publisher of “Mahiliouski Vybar” Barys Vyrvich, who called on the police officer not to be reckless in his behavior, but the inspector did not react to this appeal. The reports on administrative violations had already been prepared, apparently, he just followed the orders from senior officials. Moreover, the policeman did not sign one of the copies of the report on breaking the Media Code, which is a violation. I believe that the pressure from the police is aimed at preventing me from continuing to defend my active citizenship. I will, after consultation with human rights activists, file a complaint against the police to the prosecutor,” says the former deputy of the district council Valery Vusik.
Bialynichy journalist and publisher Barys Vyrvich believes that the police are trying to intimidate activists in order to stop the distribution of the independent press in the district.
“There are several independent regional media that are constantly distributed in Bialynichy district, “Mahiliouski Vybar”, “Region”, “Pakhodnia”, and there have been no troubles with their distribution lately. Although, earlier there were various obstacles, both from law enforcement authorities and the local executive officials. Probably now again someone does not like that the district residents have access to unbiased information. We do not break the Belarusian legislation, so the pressure put on us is useless. Certainly, we will defend our right to freely express our views and beliefs, as guaranteed by the Constitution of our country,” says Barys Vyrvich.