The independent Belarusian newspaper will have to pay a fine of 700,000 rubles.
On February 4, the Leninski district court of Minsk found the paper guilty of violating the Law on Advertising and fined it.
“Narodnaya Volya” has to pay a fine of 700,000 rubles for advertising a new season on Belsat TV.
Iosif Syaredzich, the paper’s editor-in-chief, commented on the court decision in an interview to Radio Svaboda:
“I expected that. No one could expect anything else. It‘s not the first process, not the first trial. Our state controls everything, ever step made by the paper. If we want to praise somebody, or tell about Belsat, we must be agreed on,” Iosif Syaredzich said.
The thing in focus was a September issue of the newspaper, where information about new season of Belsat TV was published. The Ministry of Trade drew up a protocol of administrative report against the newspaper “Narodnaya Volya” as they considered the announcement to be a commercial advertisement.
We remind that the authorities have recently tightened pressure on independent journalists working for Belsat.
On February 3, militia officers made an attempt to burst into Belsat office in Minsk. After journalists had refused to open the door, electricity was cut off in the office. The militiamen gave up their attempts to penetrate into the office only after journalists of other media and photo correspondents had come.
Belsat journalist Ivan Shulha was detained during the militia’s attack. The independent journalist spent the night in a jail in Akrestin Street. On February 4, the Savetski district court of Minsk found Ivan Shulha guilty of having violated article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (disorderly conduct) sentenced him to ten days of arrest.