Mon, 14 Jul 2003 20:31:12 +0400
23 July - The Solidarity Day with the newspaper "Navinki"!
The Belarusian government has begun a purposeful campaign to close the
only independent youth Belarusian newspaper.
Moreover, the newspaper "Navinki", which has been published for 5
years already, is the only newspaper of the political satire in the
country and it criticizes both the authoritarian regime and negative
tendencies in democratic opposition. But today the independent
position isn't what the government wants. At the end of May the
Ministry of Information closed the "Navinki" newspaper for three
months. The newspaper's editorial staff lodged complaint against the
Ministry of Information to the court to declare this decision being
groundless and tendentious. The first court hearing of the case about
the "Navinki" newspaper's close is appointed on July 23.
The short story of persecution:
On the 20th of May Pauluk Kanavalchyk, the editor-in-chief of the
newspaper "Navinki", was summoned. According to the article 172-1
"Distribution of information known to be unfounded that discredits
honour and dignity of the president", the general prosecutor
instituted proceedings against him for the article "The Second
Belarusian Connotative Revolution" published in the issue 7 (86) of
the 20th of March 2003. It was a semiotic article - a satirical
research on the attitude of OSCE to Lukashenko before and after taking
up the Belarusian parliament to PACE. After a short court session,
where the Mass Media and linguistic experts were refused to attend,
Pauluk Kanavalchyk was sentenced to a fine in amount of 700 Euro (that
is about 7 average salaries in Belarus). As a result P.Konovalchyk's
property was distained and must be redeemed according to the law of
On the next day of the 21st of May our newspaper got a written caution
of the Ministry of Information on the same ground for the offence
against the article 5 of "The law about the press and other means of
Mass Media" committed in the issue 7 (86) of this year "by
publication of two photographs of the president of the Republic of
Belarus with the comments of an insulting type."
And on the 22nd of May our newspaper got one more written caution for
the offence against the article 5 of "The law about the press"
committed in the issue 11 (90) of this year in materials published
under the heading "Opium For People", and in the issue 8 (87) of
this year for the heading on the page "Analysis", which "encroach on
the people's morality."
Basing on the Belarusian law the Ministry of Information decided to
temporarily close the newspaper's publication for 3 months. After it
the newspaper can be finally closed, as according to the Belarusian
laws, after two cautions have been pronounced, a newspaper can be
closed. As the court session and two cautions for articles, which were
published one and two months ago correspondingly, go after one
another, we can make a conclusion that it is a planned campaign to
close the newspaper "Navinki". This fact is a next crying breach of
freedom of speech in Belarus, where several independent newspapers
have been already closed. Today it's our newspaper's turn, but we will
not give up and we are going to bring an action for all three cases.
On May 29 there was the first International Solidarity Day with the
newspaper "Navinki". Protest actions were conducted right by
Belarusian embassies in Moscow, Warsaw, Gdansk, Prague, Berlin and
We are appealing to everyone who comes against authoritarianism and
breach of human rights. Today we need your support, and we ask you to
show your solidarity with the newspaper "Navinki" and conduct actions
against breach of freedom of speech in Belarus. We ask you to conduct
the International Day of Solidarity with the newspaper "Navinki" near
Embassies of the Republic of Belarus in your country on the 23th of
July (Wednesday), conduct protest actions in defense of freedom of
speech in Belarus and support the only independent youth political
newspaper in Belarus.
These appeals are addressed to our friends and supporters in Moscow,
Kiev, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, London, Rome, Paris and other European cities.
Please, inform both Mass Media of your country and leading Belarusian
newspapers about conducted actions.
Send your information to the following e-mails:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Protest faxes (preferably on letterheads of organizations and Mass
Media) against the "Navinki" newspaper's close and oppression of
Freedom of Speech in Belarus can be sent directly to the Ministry of
Please pass this information to all interested people.
Thanks for your support!
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