Belarus Clamps Down on Media

Belarus has closed 20 newspapers over the last two years. Yesterday, authorities shut down another independent newspaper:

City authorities in the Belarus capital of Minsk issued a statement on Monday quoted by AFP announcing the closure of the Denpress publishing company, the publisher of the Den (Day) newspaper. The reason given was that the publisher “interrupted its commercial activities for six months and failed to explain the fact to tax officials.”

The publishing house’s director, Nikolai Markevich, rejected the accusation as groundless, saying that the company could not function properly as the courts had stripped it of its legal address earlier in the year, forcing it to print the newspaper in neighboring Russia.

Denpress had operated out of the western city of Grodno, close to the Polish border, but also had an office in the capital.

The newspaper frequently published materials criticizing the authorities. In particular, it published verses deemed by the authorities to have insulted Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. After that there were reports of pressure being exerted by the authorities.

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