Iosif Siaredzich: Ministry of Information chooses punitive measures
A preliminary hearing on Narodnaya Volia's lawsuit against the Ministry of Information was held in the Supreme Court on January 14.
The newspaper seeks the annulment of the warning issued to Sviatlana Kalinkina for her article “Chained Up” about the ratification of the Eurasian Union Treaty. The trial will begin next week. The exact date will be announced in a few days, Radio Svaboda reports.
In the article “Chained Up” Narodnaya Volia's managing editor Sviatlana Kalinkina expressed her opinion on the procedure of withdrawing from the Eurasian Union. The Ministry of Information regarded it as the “dissemination of false information that misleads readers”.
Iosif Siaredzich, the chief editor of Narodnaya Volia, said at the preliminary hearing that the opinion published by the newspaper was important for Belarusian society ahead of the treaty ratification.
“It stressed its possible weak sides and provoked a discussion. The discussion was open for all interested agencies-- the Ministry of Information, the MFA and others. We are ready to give word in Narodnaya Volia to everyone. But the Ministry of Information didn't want to participate in the discussion. It decided to apply punitive measures. They are punitive, because any Belarusian newspaper can be closed after two warnings during a year,” he said.
Representatives of the Ministry of Information say they don't agree with the claim of Narodnaya Volia and confirmed the issued warning. They stress that Sviatlana Kalinkina's article does not only harm the state and public interests, but also discredits Belarus's foreign policy.