Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

President Lukashenko Orders Russian Media Out Of Belarus

Posted by Info on 30/05/2011

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has ordered the shut down of a number of foreign media outlets, including those of Russian orgin, for stirring up “hysteria” over the currency crisis in the country.

On Monday, Belarus’ National Bank devalued the national currency against the dollar by 36 percent, which led to price hikes, panic among the population, empty shelves in supermarkets and long queues at currency exchanges as people attempting to protect their savings.
President Lukashenko said: Russian media whipped up the “hysteria”.</em>

According to Lukashenko, the reason behind the move is “not that we want them to keep their mouths shut”. He noted that he had been closely watching the media and it was they “who triggered the hype”.

First reaction to the news has already followed from Moscow which was surprised by Lukashenko’s decision. The Russian lower house has warned the Belarusian leader against any rash steps.
The closure of foreign media outlets “will not be a panacea for the economic crisis,” believes Leonid Slutsky, first deputy chairperson of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee. It would be highly unfortunate to make any anti-democratic moves now “when Minsk is in need of international aid”.

The chairman of the Russian Public Chamber’s committee for media issues Pavel Gusev said the news did not come as a surprise. Several Russian media outlets have already been banned from entering Belarus. The journalist believes that Lukashenko’s decision is yet another sign of his “political unreliability. The Belarusian leader can be neither trusted nor dealt with.

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