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Belarusian Newspapers Suspend Publication

A press-freedom demonstration in Minsk in October 2004 ( March 14, 2006 -- Three independent Belarusian newspapers have suspended publication after a printing house in Russia said it could no longer print them.

The newspapers -- "Narodnaya volya," "BDG Delovaya gazeta," and "Tovarishch" -- have been using a printing house in the Russian city of Smolensk after state printing houses in Belarus refused to print them.

Anatoly Guchev, the head of the Smolensk printing plant, said printing contracts with the newspapers were cancelled on March 13 because of economic and political reasons.

"Narodnaya volya" Deputy Editor Svyatlana Kalinkina has accused Belarusian authorities of striking a deal with Russian authorities to pressure the printing house.

Opposition groups have accused Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka of cracking down on the independent media on the eve of the country's March 19 election, in which Lukashenka is running for a third term.

(Belapan, Reuters)

Arrested On The Air

Arrested On The Air

Hanna Horozhenko in a Channel 5 publicity photo

HANNA HOROZHENKO is a reporter for the Kyiv-based Channel 5, which played a crucial role in breaking the information blockade in the Ukrainian state run media during the Orange Revolution protests in Ukraine in November-December 2004.
Although Horozhenko was accredited by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry to cover the presidential election campaign in Belarus, she was arrested in Minsk on March 12, immediately after a meeting with some 2,000 voters held by united opposition candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich. The arrest came as she was reporting live by the telephone to Kyiv.


Listen to the audio of Horozhenko's report and arrest, provided by Channel 5 (about three minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

Horozhenko was detained together with a Channel 5 camera operator and a group of Ukrainian students who came to Minsk from Ukraine to show their support to the Belarusian opposition. Police released her several hours later, following the intervention of the Ukrainian Embassy in Minsk.
"The actions of the OMON [riot police] -- that was really something," Horozhenko told RFE/RL's Belarusian Service after her release. "I have never heard such words addressed to a human being, I have never seen such boorishness. I was shocked."
Belarusian police routinely arrest a dozen opposition activists after every opposition gathering in order to reduce the possibility of post-election protests against the official election results, which are expected to be heavily in Lukashenka's favor.

See also these RFE/RL stories on the media in Belarus:

Independent Newspaper Struggles Against State Interference

EU-Funded Media Broadcasts To Start Before March Elections

Authorities 'Cleanse' Media Ahead Of 2006 Vote

Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.

Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.

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