Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta
|Editor||Svetlana Kalinkina (2003-04)|
|Political alignment||opposition to Alexander Lukashenko|
Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta (BDG; English: "Belarusian Business Newspaper") is a now-defunct, business-oriented daily newspaper based in Minsk, Belarus, known for its criticisms of President Alexander Lukashenko's government.
In 2003, its editor was Svetlana Kalinkina. The paper began to publish reports and features critical of Lukashenko's government, including a series on the trial of Vikto Kazeko, former director of the state food company, a story on the corruption trial of former Minsk Tractor Works director Mikhail Leonov, and a poll asking readers whether Lukashenko should be allowed to have his presidential plane for personal use. Reporter Iryna Khalip's articles on official corruption led to a brief suspension of the newspaper's printing rights for "insulting the honor and dignity of the president".
Soon the paper was reportedly subject to a campaign of official harassment, including "politically motivated tax inspections, death threats and detentions". Belarus's Information Ministry began to harass any printer that agreed to work with the paper, forcing BDG to print in Smolensk, Russia. The print edition of BDG had largely disappeared from Belarus by September 2004, leaving only the website.
Kalinkina then took a leave of absence from the paper to work against a national referendum that would eliminate presidential term limits, allowing Lukashenko to serve indefinitely. The referendum passed, and Kalinkina took a new position at Narodnaya Volya.
In 2004, the Committee to Protect Journalists awarded Kalinkina its International Press Freedom Award, "an annual recognition of courageous journalism", for her work with BDG. The award citation praised her "critical reporting on various government abuses" in the face of "years of legal and bureaucratic harassment from Belarusian authorities".
Print run cancellation
On 13 March 2006, a week before the presidential election that would usher in Lukashenko's third term, BDG, Narodnaya Volya, and Tovarishch had their print runs abruptly cancelled by their Smolensk supplier. Kalinkina told The New York Times that she believed Belarusian government pressure to be responsible, saying, "When, a week before the election, someone refuses to print three papers, it is clear there are political reasons."
Shortly after, increasing financial pressures forced the paper's closure.
- "2004 IPFA Svetlana Kalinkina". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "CPJ calls on government to allow newspaper to resume publication". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Iryna Khalip, Belarus". International Women's Media Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Heroes of Press Freedom". The Washington Post. 23 November 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "CPJ International Press Freedom Awards 2011". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "CPJ to Present Annual Press Freedom Awards". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "With election nearing, Belarussians crack down". The New York Times. 13 March 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2012.