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Belarusian newspapers "Nasha niva" and "Narodnaya vola" face closure.
BABRUYSK, Belarus -- The opposition United Civic Party (AHP) branch in the eastern Belarusian city of Babruysk is campaigning to support two independent newspapers threatened with closure, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The Information Ministry filed lawsuits with the Supreme Economic Court on April 27 aimed at closing down "Nasha niva" and "Narodnaya volya," after issuing them three warnings over their allegedly "erroneous" coverage of domestic events.

Belarusian law allows the Supreme Economic Court to shut down a media outlet after it receives three such warnings from the Information Ministry.

The editors of the two newspapers say the move against them is politically motivated.

Viktar Buzinayeu, who heads the AHP branch in Babruysk, told RFE/RL that 200 signatures have been collected in support of the two papers, of which 170 have been appended to a first petition sent to Information Minister Aleh Pralyaskouski.

Buzinayeu said petitions will be sent to the ministry on a regular basis as more signatures are collected until pressure against the two newspapers ends.

Read more in Belarusian
Samat Asipov
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz television journalist Samat Asipov has been hospitalized after a severe beating at the hands of unknown attackers in Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Asipov suffered multiple injuries, bruises, and concussion in the attack late on May 11.

Almaz Turdumamatov, a senior producer for the Fifth Channel television company for which Asipov works, told RFE/RL that three individuals attacked Asipov near the Kyrgyz Technical University as he was returning home from work at around 10.00 p.m. Turdumamatov said the attackers did not take Asipov's wallet, mobile phone, or documents.

"We do not exclude the possibility that the attack was connected with Asipov's professional activities, because over the last two years he covered parliamentary news and social, economic, and political problems," Turdumamatov told RFE/RL.

Police in Bishkek's Lenin district have opened an investigation.

Read more in Kyrgyz here

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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