Belaruski chas newspaper faces $1,000,000 fine for information workers received

2009 2009-01-30T18:09:30+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Vorsha meat-preserving factory’s general director demands weekly “Belaruski chas” to disprove article “Hashed beef as a wage”.

The newspaper editorial office has made a statement on this occasion.

“In the end of January rumours that Vorsha meat-preserving factory gives wages in the form of canned meat. But when our author Liudmila Marshalovich sent the ready article, it has been found out that there were no problems in that: wage in the form of money hasn’t been cancelled, and canned meat was given to those who wanted that, according to an agreement concluded by the enterprise. There were no violations or infringements of workers’ rights. And we published this information like that,” journalists of “Belarusiki chas” write.

But this week the editorial office received a letter of the general director of Vorsha meat-preserving factory Arkadiy Neusikhin with a demand to refute information in the article “Hashed beef as a wage”. It was written in the letter:

“The facts in the article are unverified and untrue. We ask you to publish contradiction in the next issue of the newspaper and publicly offer apologies. Otherwise your newspaper will be sued $1,000,000 for damaging the image of one of the largest enterprise in Belarus”.

Two quoted from the article were included into the letter. They seem insulting to the director of the enterprise, and punishment for which should be a compensation of $1 mln.

The first one is offending according to Nevsikhin:

“… to try to walk in the shoes of the factory workers and find out how does it feel to receive wages in the form of canned meat…”

The second quote is the following:

“No wonder such a conclusion could be made, when seeing one of the workers of the enterprise transporting three containers of canned meat in a sledge. And the next question suggests itself: what if a person wants to buy milk, bread, Champaign for a holiday, or a new dress?”

What has astonished the journalists is the ‘disclosure’ by the factory director:

“The information in the article has been found in oppositional sources”.

Firstly, “Belaruski chas” weekly has always been relying on its own forces. Our creative team is rather professional. And secondly, what kind of opposition to the meet-processing factory there could exist? Is it a secret society of vegetarians? We doubt that,” the journalists write.

“The subject for writing the article was rumours which emerged between inhabitants of the town. Are dwellers in opposition to the factory? It is unlikely. Or are the chairman of the trade union, senior accountant and the head of the labour and wages department who gave explanations to us, were these sources? It’s not true! The chairman of the trade union Alyaksei Parusau obviously supported the general director, as he signed the letter addressed to our newspaper. In general, we haven’t understood these charges concerning the oppositional nature [of the article]” the workers of “Belaruski chas” summed up.