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Ten Years out of Sight

26.05.2015 Source: Press Service of Belarusian Association of Journalists

Almost ten years ago, before the electoral campaign in 2006, several independent socio-political newspapers were excluded from distribution catalogues of Belposhta and Belsayuzdruk, postal and distribution monopolists in Belarus.

The monopolists are represented throughout the country in the form of postal departments and kiosks. On January 10, 2014 Belposhta was included into the State Register of economic entities that occupy dominating positions on Belarusian market in services of “subscription, delivery and re-addressing of printed mass media products”, and, according to antimonopoly legislation, a monopoly does not have the right to deny services according to the freedom of contract. Belsayuzdruk was not included in the register, as it is split into separate legal entities in each region.

In 2006, around 20 non-state periodicals were denied services of the two monopolists, and this put editorial offices and readers into a complicated situation. When contracts with the outlets were annulled, the monopolists explained that it was economically unreasonable to sell them, however this argument seemed void because some outlets were sold in dozens of thousands. The periodicals had few options left: to apply for services of private shops and trade points or to send the newspapers as regular mail (so-called editorial subscription) which raises the price significantly.

Only in 2008, in thawing relations between the officials in Minsk and the EU, Belposhta and Belsayuzdruk resumed their contracts with two all-national bi-weekly Narodnaya Volya and weekly Belarusian-language Nasha Niva.

The economic pressure connected with distribution obstacles led several outlets to closures, among them Salidarnasc, BDG.Delovaya Gazeta, Birzha informacii (Hrodna), Liakhavitski Chas (Liakhavitchy), Mestnaya Gazeta (Vaukavysk), Khimik (Navapolatsk), Miastsovy Chas (Pinsk), Gazeta dlia Vas (Ivatsevichy), Bobruyskij Courier (Babruysk). There are also some newspapers that lost periodicity or dropped attempts to publish in paper versions, or do it seldom, like Tovarisch; Vitebskij Courier (correction made: the newspaper has paper version with circulation 1000). Also, in August 2014, Niasvizhski Chas closed down through economic hardships.

The outlets that by now have issues with distributors:

TITLE

Requests to Belposhta and Belsayzdruk to get services

MEANS OF DISTRIBUTION

CIRCULATION (May 2015)

Borisovskiye Novosti (Barysau)

Absent from Belsayuzdruk since 2006. In 2013 returned to Belposhta for five months only, then the contract dropped again

Private trade network (shops, markets), civil distributors, by mail in the regions. Chief editor Anatol Bukas that 8 large sell points opened in the city recently, but they refuse to sell the newspaper, asking for a permission to sell from the city executive committee first

5 000

Volnaye Hlybokaye

(Hlybokaye)

Absent from Belposhta, last request in 2013.

Sold in Belsayuzdruk kiosks, but only 40 copies per kiosk are taken.

Also through editorial subscription, private shops, markets.

2 000

Hazeta Slonimskaya (Slonim)

Absent from Belposhta and Belsayuzdruk since 2006.

Last request to Belposhta in April 2015.

Editorial subscription, own a net of distributors.

4 500

Hantsavistki Chas (Hantsavichy)

In Belposhta and Belsayzdruk catalogues only in Hantsavichy district, since February 2010

Own a net of distributors who sell around 70 per cent of the circulation.

3 900

Intex-press (Baranavichy)

Absent from Belposhta and Belsayzudruk, files requests regularly.

Last request to Brestablsayuzdruk in autumn 2014, to Belposhta in May 2015.

Editorial subscription, its own net of distributors, trade companies.

13 460

Novy Chas

(Minsk)

Absent from Belposhta and Belsayuzdruk, has not requested services from them since 2012 because deem it senseless

Editorial subscription, civil distributors.

7 000

SNPLus. Svobodnyje Novosti Plus

(Minsk)

Absent from Belposhta, last request-and-refusal communication occurred in April 2015.

Sold in kiosks of Belsayuzdruk

29 500

Rehiyanalnaya Hazeta (Maladzechna)

Last refusal from Belposhta came in the second half of 2014.

Sold in kiosks of Minskablsayuzdruk, trade points.

6 000

Magazine ARCHE. Pachatak

 

Belsayuzdruk denied services in 2014 saying it’s inexpedient; Belkniga (book shops company) denies services without explanations.

Belposhta, civil distributors, Internet shop

1 000

 

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