Editor of Smarhon independent paper interviewed by police
On March 25, Smarhon police interviewed the editor of the small-circulation newspaper "Smarhonski Hrak” Ales Dzerhachou and the distributor of the periodical Uladzimir Shulzhytski, Press Service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists reports.
“The policemen’s questions concerned the "Smarhonski Hrak” and the sending of its copies to the state agencies and archives,” said Ales Dzerhachou.
No charges were brought and no papers were signed. But the policemen advised the editor to comply with the legislation.
Are unregistered editions, including ordinary newsletters, are under the obligation to send copies to the authorities?
Deputy Chairman of the NGO "Belarusian Association of Journalists" Andrei Bastunets says that the demand is groundless.
“According to the Regulation on the compulsory free copy approved by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus in 2008, the producer of the free copy is a legal entity of Belarus, foreign organization or an individual entrepreneur registered in the Republic of Belarus, which carries out publishing and (or) printing activities. The Regulation does not cover individuals who publish media that are not subject to registration and are not engaged in business activity. If individuals publish such publications in a printing company, then the sending of “control copies” is managed by the printing company itself.
The newsletter "Smarhonski Hrak” has been issued regularly for three years already with the circulation of 299 copies. It is edited by a local human rights activist Ales Dzerhachou.
On March 20, police detained Uladzimir Shulzhytski in the lobby of one of the dormitories of Smarhon. The activist was carrying 31 copies of the newsletter. The same day, the police conducted a "home inspection" of the young man’s apartment, where another copy of the edition was found. The main subject of the seized issue was BPF members’ refusal to participate in local elections.