31 May 1999


RSF protests continued harassment of newspaper

Incident details


(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is protesting the harassment of the three-times-weekly
"Naviny", in Minsk (central Belarus). On 27 May 1999, the three-times-weekly
"Naviny", an opposition newspaper, received a "warning" from the state
council on the press - its second since the beginning of the year - which
threatens it with closure under Belarussian law. This warning follows the 16
May publication of an article by Alexandre Dubravin in which the journalist
vigorously criticised accusations leveled by a group of civil servants from
the police department against Uri Zaharenko, the former interior minister
and current opposition leader, who mysteriously disappeared in Minsk on 7

**Updates IFEX alerts of 27 May, 21 May, 14 May, 13 May, 19 April, 16 March
and 18 February 1999**

RSF recalls that in February 1999, "Naviny" and five other opposition
newspapers, "Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta", "Narodnaya Volya", "Belorusskaya
Gazeta", "Belorussky Rynok" and "Imya", had received "warnings" for having
announced the holding of a presidential election in May, organised by the
opposition and not recognised by authorities. Their appeal was rejected by
Belarus' Supreme Court on 13 May. In 1998, the state committee on the press
granted itself the right to suspend publications for three months without
explanation. The latest "warning" against "Naviny" may signal its impending

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the justice minister:

  • protesting the threats of closure against "Naviny"
  • asking him to respect his responsibilities towards press freedom,
    under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
    Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression and information throughout
    the world, and to which Belarus is a signatory

    Appeals To

    Mr. Voronpsov Guenady
    Minister of Justice
    Fax: +375 172 20 97 55

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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