Minsk Regional Procurator’s Office Peculiarly Explains Law on Press
Minsk Regional Procurator’s Office turned up the complaint, filed by Anatol Bukas, chief editor of Borisovskie Novosti newspaper, against the warning that had been issued to him by the procurator of Barysau. Now Anatol Bukas is going to complain to the National Procurator’s Office.
The letter, dated 29 September 2005 and signed by vice-procurator of Minsk region Kampaniets, states that A. Bukas explains part 2 of Article #5 of the Law on press and other mass media, thinking that it is prohibited to print only copies of the documents that are attached to criminal case. Mr. Kampaniets believes that Article #5 prohibits not only to distribute the information that was obtained at a criminal trial, but also to “present to the readers the author’s own insinuations”. It is also mentioned in the letter that “there was no written permission to publish materials till the enforcement of the verdict” to the author of the article and Borisovskie Novosti newspaper.
-- The procurator gave an expansive explanation to the law. He changed the notion “materials of a court case” (the distribution of which is really limited by the Law on press) to the notion “article about a trial”. It is inadmissible, -- thinks Andrei Bastuniets, vice-chair of Belarusian Association of Journalists. A. Bastuniets also points that the publications for which Bukas has been warned, don’t contain any quotations from the case materials – the journalist only told what he saw and heard at an open court sitting.
Let us remind that the procurator's office of Barysau issued the warning to Anatol Bukas on 25 August. The check that led to the warning issued to A. Bukas was held on the basis of the appeal from Viera Pratasievich, the editor of Adzinstva, newspaper of Barysau City Executive Committee. We would like to remind you that she was the main character of critical article published in March 2004, which was why Anatol Bukas was found guilty of violating two articles of the Criminal Code. On 16 June the court imposed on him a fine worth 40 basic units and awarded three million ruble worth of moral damages to Viera Pratasievich.