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Belarus Police Confiscate Equipment Of Independent TV Channel

Police seize equipment from the Belsat TV station in Minsk on March 31.

MINSK -- Belarusian police have searched the headquarters of the popular Belsat TV station, a subsidiary of Poland's Telewizja Polska S.A.

The Minsk City Police said on March 31 that computers, audio, and video equipment were confiscated as part of an ongoing preliminary investigation.

The probe was triggered by a complaint filed by an individual who owns the right to use the Belsat name for his/her company, it said.

No more details were given.

Earlier in September 2014, Belarus's Supreme Court barred Telewizja Polska S.A. from using the name Belsat TV for its Belarusian-language broadcast and on-line programs.

The court said such use violates the rights of a Belarusian satellite and cable TV equipment company called BELSATplus.

Belsat TV continued to use its name despite the ruling, saying its trademark does not fall under Belarusian jurisdiction as it is registered in Poland and operates from that country.

Rights advocates say President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government has restricted independent media as part of efforts to suppress dissent during his almost 23-year rule.

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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.