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November 30, 2008

Belarus removes two newspapers from blacklist, but more remain sidelined

Two independent newspapers that were dropped from official distribution networks for criticising the government have signed contracts that will allow them to appear in the state postal monopoly Belpocha’s newspaper subscription catalogue and to be on sale in the state-owned Belsayuzdruk’s chain of newsstands. The two newspapers are weekly Narodnaya Volya and fortnightly Nasha Niva , Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported. At the same time, two representatives of the Belarus Association of... MORE
August 6, 2008

Belarus: Despite protests, Lukashenko signs restrictive media law

President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a restrictive new media law which will allow authorities to further restrict press freedom in Belarus. The Belarusian parliament - before its adjournment in late June - rushed the bill through in three consecutive readings and passed it to the Constitutional Court for review. According to the local press, the court rubberstamped the bill in July and Lukashenko signed it into law on Monday. Concerned with the draconian measures, the New York-based... MORE
June 19, 2008

Belarus: Lower house approves bill reinforcing government’s power to censor media

The adoption by the Belarus chamber of representatives of a media bill that would reinforce media registration procedures and, for the first time, extend media regulation to the Internet has free speech advocates a worried lot. The Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) had asked parliament’s human rights and media committee to examine whether articles 33 and 34 of the proposed new law violate the constitution, but the committee refused last August. “This bill is yet another attack on media... MORE
May 30, 2008

Government continues to hamper Polish radio station broadcasting to Belarus

The Belarusian foreign ministry’s has refused to issue accreditation to reporter Alyaksey Minchonak of Radio Racyja, a station based in the Polish city of Bialystok that broadcasts to Belarus. This latest obstacle for the station comes a month after the police raided its Minsk bureau and seized equipment, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported. “The authorities are continuing to harass Radio Racyja, one of the few independent news outlets in Belarus,” Paris-based RSF said. “We call for an... MORE
March 27, 2008

Secret police raid radio broadcasters in Belarus as political crisis worsens

Security police Thursday raided Belarussian broadcasters' offices and detained at least two reporters at their homes, Reuters has reported. The raids were launched two days after police broke up a rally by opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko and dozens of activists were fined or handed short jail terms. Zhanna Litvina, head of Belarus's Journalists' Association, told Reuters that the KGB security service had searched offices of two independent radio stations, Polish-funded Radio Racja (... MORE
March 8, 2008

Libel laws crippling Belarus as state gets back at critical newspapers

The Belarus government has been making selective use of politically motivated civil libel lawsuits against critics. Intolerant officials punish what remains of Belarus’ independent media with lawsuits that result in exorbitant fines, further debilitating the outlets. Since 1999, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented such targeted attacks against at least five independent and oppositions newspapers. One such closure is imminent. A city court slammed the... MORE
February 26, 2008

Belarus editor freed after being jailed for prophet cartoons

The Belarusian Supreme Court has ordered the early release of Aleksandr Sdvizhkov, former deputy editor of the now-shuttered independent newspaper Zgoda, who was sentenced in January to three years in a high-security prison for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in 2006. “We’re relieved at the Belarusian Supreme Court’s decision to grant early release to Aleksandr Sdvizhkov, but he should not have been jailed in the first place,” Committee to Protect Journalists (... MORE
February 21, 2008

IFJ supports Belarus editor in appeal against jail for publishing Danish cartoons

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Belarus’s Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that found Aliaksandar Zdzvizhkou, former deputy editor of Zhoda newspaper guilty of inciting religious hatred for re-printing the Danish caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in 2006. “This prosecution is an attack on press freedom that the government has tried to disguise by claiming religious hatred,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Media should be guided by their own sense... MORE
June 6, 2006

WAN board calls for end of harassment of journalists in Belarus

The Board of the World Association of Newspapers has called on the government of Belarus to end the harassment of journalists and the repression of press freedom that exists in the country. "The past year has been marked by severe repression of press freedom in Belarus, which culminated at the time of the presidential elections in March 2006 when over 30 journalists where arrested. Even though all of them have today been released, the effects of the onslaught continue to mark the media scene in... MORE