Belarus Court orders newspaper shut

The Minsk District Administrative Court yesterday ordered the liquidation of the Local Time-Press corporation, publisher of the independent newspaper, Local Time, approving a complaint of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee. As related to Rosbalt by the press service of the Belarus Association of Journalists, the decision 'was taken despite two earlier rejections of the same complaint by the same court.'

The complaint was based on a finding by the Ministry for Taxes and Collections of Minsk District that Local Time-Press had not provided proper notice of a change of legal address. The ministry was represented in court as a third party.

Judge Oksana Okhrimenko, ordering the liquidation, found in her summation that both the company and the newspaper had violated the law in connection with their registration.

The paper's assistant managing editor, Aleksandr Koktysh, said that, 'using the scheme by which Local Time-Press has been liquidated it is possible that we will shortly see the elimination of every channel of mass communication that does not suit the authorities.'

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