Belarus: newspapers banned as journalists face trial

Belarus: The Ministry of Information has refused to register the newspaper Silnye Novosti Gomelya, run by the Pechatnoe Slovo company, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists.  The refusal was justified on the basis that the editor’s qualifications did not meet the Ministry’s requirements. According to the BAJ, at least eight newspapers have been denied registration by the government since the autumn of 2009.  The news coincides with reports that a journalist and candidate for the city council in the town of Babruisk was beaten by police for raising the white-red flag of the Belarusian People’s Republic, a symbol of protest against the government of President Alexander Lukashenko. His trial continues.

Last week, pro-government activists held a picket in front of the offices of the opposition “Narodnaya Volya” newspaper over an extract they published from Illya Kopyl’s book Nyabyshyna, which documents activity of Soviet guerillas in the period of Nazi occupation. In other news, Maxim Vunyarski, an activist for the European Belarus movement, is to face trial for participating in a rally for Solidarity Day on March 16.