Belarus’ oldest newspaper banned as extremist
| Today Headlines | Yahoo news
The oldest Belarusian newspaper banned on the 115th anniversary of its founding, the latest step in a relentless government crackdown on independent media in the former Soviet nation
KYIV, Ukraine – Belarus’ oldest newspaper was banned on Tuesday on the 115th anniversary of its founding, the latest step in the government’s relentless crackdown on independent media in the former Soviet nation.
The Nasha Niva newspaper was declared an extremist by the Minsk Central District Court, which acted at the request of the Ministry of Information.
The ruling will subject anyone who publishes or republishes Nasha Niva materials to prison terms of up to seven years.
Belarusian authorities blocked the online newspaper in July and arrested its editor, Yahor Martsinovich, and journalist Andrey Skurko, who are still in detention.
A total of 29 Belarusian journalists are in detention, serving their sentences or awaiting trial.
Most of Nasha Niva’s other journalists left the country and continued to publish a newspaper online, switching domains to bypass the block.
“The authorities continue to destroy the independent media in Belarus, branding everyone as extremist,” said Andrei Bastunets, head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. “The situation in Belarus is worse than in Cuba or Iran and is approaching North Korean standards.”
He noted that Nasha Niva is widely mentioned in textbooks as part of the national heritage, adding that it was not immediately clear how Belarusian authorities would handle the situation after her ban.
Nasha Niva has widely covered the massive anti-government protests that erupted last year after President Alexander Lukashenko was given a sixth term after an August 2020 presidential vote that was denounced as rigged by the opposition and the ‘West.
Belarusian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown that saw more than 35,000 people arrested and thousands beaten by police.
This month, tensions erupted on Belarus’ border with Poland over an influx of migrants. The EU accused Lukashenko’s government of orchestrating the wave of migration on its eastern flank as a “hybrid attack” in retaliation for the bloc’s sanctions against Belarus for its crackdown on protesters.
Follow all of AP’s stories on developments in Belarus at https://apnews.com/hub/Belarus.
Today Headlines Fox news Belarus’ oldest newspaper banned as extremist