BAJ Defends Editors, Which Fell Into State’s Disfavor 11:12, 28/08/2002
Council of the Belarusian Association of Journalists protests against the dismissal of the editor-in-chief of the “Belorussky Chas” Alexander Starikevich. BAJ considers this step to be yet another crackdown on the freedom of speech in the country.
Having examined the situation, BAJ states the following: Alexander Starikevich was appointed “BC” editor in September 2000. During the period of his work at the post the newspaper raised its print run by two and reached a higher professional level. It’s worth mention that this happened without any financial assistance on behalf of the founder.
After they elected on July 16 presidential aide Leonid Kozik as new FTU chair, the new FTU leadership immediately prepared an order to sack Starikevich. On July 25 the Federation’s presidium turned down the proposal during its curricular plenary. However, on August 8 Leonid Kozik personally fired Alexander Starikevich under article 257/2 of the Labor Code (upon the employer’s initiative).
BAJ Council notes that the Belarusian authorities have lately stepped up an intense harassment of the independent trade union press. Trial over the editor of the “Rabochy” editor-in-chief Viktor Ivashkevich, charged with libeling Alexander Lukashenko, was scheduled for September 11. This is happening in light of the ever increasing social tensions, of which the trade union editions notify the readers. Seemingly, this is the original reason for persecuting the afore-mentioned editors.