Administrative pressures used against independent media in Belarus

Belarussian independent and opposition newspapers often face restrictions on access to the state-owned postal and kiosk distribution systems, state-owned printing facilities, and state advertising contracts or media subsidies, according to Freedom House. Such papers are forced to sell directly from their newsrooms and use volunteers to deliver copies, but authorities sometimes harass and arrest the private distributors.

Lohvinau, an independent publisher and bookstore, had its license revoked in 2013 and was repeatedly denied registration in 2014 on various technicalities. At year’s end it was facing the possibility of a large fine for selling books without a license.

State media are supported by tax exemptions and direct subsidies from the state budget, giving them another significant advantage over potential private-sector competitors. Media outlets reportedly self-censor to please major advertisers that wish to avoid association with any criticism of the president.

 

Source: Freedom of the Press Index 2015 – Belarus https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2015/belarus#.VZZODUv_9EQ

 

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