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Belarus: Authorities Close Down New Independent Newspaper

Minsk, 28 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Authorities in Belarus have shut down another independent newspaper. The Belarusian Information Ministry issued the order to shut down "Mestnoe vremya" yesterday, claiming the paper had not legally registered its rental space. The editor of the paper, however, called it another strike against the free media in Belarus. Anatol Gulyaev told the Associated Press that the Information Ministry was fulfilling a political order from the authorities.

Belarusian officials refused to comment.

Gulyaev told AFP the move was prompted by the paper's decision to set up regional correspondents ahead of next year's local elections.

Gulyaev said the paper's staff ran into problems with authorities shortly after the newspaper went into print on 1 November.