23 January 2018, Tuesday, 20:50

Activists to sue RTR-Belarus and NTV-Belarus for extremism

Leaders of Mahilou-based departments of independent trade unions say they want to sue RTR-Belarus and NTV-Belarus TV channels for extremism.

In July, activists of Mahilou independent trade unions and the civil association Leu Sapeha Foundation appealed to the Ministry of Communication and Informatisation, the Belarusian Television and Radio Company and the General Prosecutor's Office asking to replace Russian TV channels RTR and NTV with Russian-language Ukrainian and Kazakh ones. In their opinion, the TV channels stir “anti-Ukrainian hysteria aimed at inciting national hatred and separatism”, BelaPAN reports.

The reply signed by deputy minister of information Siarhei Khilman reads: “All eight TV programmes included in the public digital TV package in Mahilou refer to the mass media that were registered in the Republic of Belarus. The information about broadcasting the TV programmes registered in the Russian Federation is incorrect.”

According to the reply, only a court has power to recognise materials as extremist. “If a court proves a TV programme distributes extremist materials, it will be taken to account in compliance with the legislation,” Khilman wrote.

“It's interesting that the General Prosecutor's Office decided to resend the issue on opening a criminal case over inciting racial, national or religious hatred to the Ministry of Information. All recipients ignored our appeal, refused to consider it and resent it to the Ministry of Information,” Yury Novikau from the Free Belarusian Trade Union says.

Novikau and other activists who signed the appeal – Yury Darashenka from the Free Metal Workers Trade Union, Aliaksei Yauhenau from the Electronics Trade Union and Uladzimir Shantsau from Leu Sapeha Foundation – said they plan to prepare lawsuits against RTR-Belarus and NTV-Belarus TV channels.