Independent newspapers likely to return to Belarus newsstands


Non-state Belarusian newspapers Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya are to return to the national distribution networks, after the authorities in Belarus have decided to make concessions to the European Union and the independent Belarusian society. According to Nasha Niva's editor-in-chief Andrei Skurko, this information remains unofficial,as there was just a phone call from the Office of the President. It is worth waiting for the contracts with Belposta and Belsayuzdruk -- stat-run distribution monopolies to be signed. Formal letters have already been filed with these two companies. Here are the comments from Skurko on this situation:

"It is like the justice has been restored. If there is a lot of people in Belarus who wish to read the independent press, they should be given this opportunity".

Andrei Skurko reckons further similar steps regarding the freedom of press in this country should be expected.

"The fact that the independent newspapers are returning to the distribution network is a sign that our independent society has managed to display power and support newspapers since December 2005", Skurko noted.

The issue of returning Narodnaya Volya to the national distribution networks was raised at the recent Minsk Forum, and Uladzimir Makey, Chief of the Presidential Administration, promised to sort it out. In an unofficial letter, Minsk pledged to the European Union to return Narodnaya Volya and Nasha Niva to state-run distribution networks. Unfortunately, other non-state newspapers were not mentioned in the letter.

File photo: Narodnaya Volya still in kiosks in Minsk, 2000