Threats to independent media

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Threats to independent media

Some of the most vague and vulnerable articles are those of the Criminal code defaming or discrediting the Republic of Belarus, the president. According to the legal analysis by “Article 19” they fall behind international standards, as they are too broad and restrictive.

After two official warnings, any print edition can be closed down. This way the Supreme Economic court closed the newspaper Svaboda in 1998; a year later the newspaper Naviny was closed down, then “Imia”, “Pahonia”, “Nasha svaboda”. The editor of “Pahonia” Mikola Markevich and journalist Pavel Mazheyka were sentenced to two years imprisonment for defaming the president (Art. 367/2 of the Criminal Code).

At the end of 2005 a number of newspapers, such as Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volia were removed from the subscription catalogue of “Belposhta” – they were returned to the catalogues and to the shops in late 2008.

See here for a list of newspapers not distributed by either “Belsouyzpechat” or “Belposhta”.

In February 2009 a Brest court recognized ARCHE issue No 7-8 containing extremist content and it was withdrawn from the circulation.

In 1996 the government closed the Radio 101.2.

In 2011 the government closed the Autoradio for disseminating the information of extremist content. 

Author: Handbook on Belarus for International journalists