28 September 2005
MINSK - The last independent daily newspaper in the former Soviet republic Belarus shut down yesterday.
Narodnaya Volia (People's Will) had published since the early 1990s. Most of Belarus' media is state-run and makes no pretence of reporting news fairly or honestly.
"This is effectively the death of freedom of speech in Belarus," wrote Iosif Seredich, chief editor, in a final column. "A blow has been struck against democracy and human rights."
The newspaper was forced to cease operations after government authorities removed from the Narodnaya Volia bank account the sum of 100 million Belarusian roubles ($5,000) on a judge's order.