Teacher in Beshankovichy faces fine for spreading unregistered newspaper
Heorhi Stankevich, a teacher of the town of Beshankovichy, Vitsebsk region, has been for several years publishing the newspaper “Kryvinka”. He publishes it regularly and at his own expense, depending on the material possibilities of the founder and editor. However, he has regularly faced claims – and most often they are associated with election campaigns.
Heorhi Stankevich says that on March 27 he was charged under paragraph 2 of Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code - for infringement of the media law:
“Senior police officer Dzmitry Karas came to the school and said that there was the testimony of two witnesses against me: two businessmen at the farmers’ market said that I handed out my newspaper there. I do not hide it: I do publish the newspaper. But it is not a periodical, as it only has a circulation of 290 copies, so it is not necessary to register it. And they accuse me of spreading unregistered mass media, as well as breaking the rules of publishing activities, indicating untrue information about the editorial office and so on. By the way, I send every issue of “Kryvinka” to Minsk libraries and the Information Ministry, but there were never any complaints.”
Claims against Heorhi Stankevich, as he himself says, begin at the time of some significant public events. In particular, the first administrative case against him and “Kryvinka” was opened in 2010. Then it was the time of an election campaign, and Mr. Stankevich was running for the District Council. The case ended with a trial and a fine of 20 basic units.
The next penalty in 2012 was twice as much – 40 base units. Mr. Stankevich was also running in the election campaign then, he was a candidate for the district and regional councils. Statements from the witnesses were taken just before the main voting day.
According to official results, activist of the Movement “For Freedom” Heorhi Stankevich lost the election to his pro-government opponent. Now he is awaiting a trial for “Kryvinka”, a third one – in a new administrative case where charges resemble the previous two.
“As it is written in the official notification from the police, I will be judged for violation of paragraphs 4,5,26 of Articles 1, 29, 30, 31 of the Law “On Mass Media”. But the point is, as I understand it, that the authorities are aware of the threat from “Kryvinka” in that it provides an objective and sometimes critical information about our lives. I believe that my readers have a right to this information!” says Heorhi Stankevich.