Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
World

Belarus Court Rules Against AP Reporter for Chernobyl Story

The lawsuit stems from an April article about farmers using land contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A radiation warning sign stands near a checkpoint in an exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, southeast of Minsk, Belarus, photo: AP/Sergei Grits
9 months ago

MOSCOW – A court in the former Soviet republic of Belarus has ruled against an Associated Press (AP) correspondent in a lawsuit by a dairy company that claimed an AP article damaged its reputation. AP said it stands by his reporting and will seek to overturn the ruling on appeal.

The lawsuit stems from an April article about farmers using land contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The article said tests by a Belarusian state laboratory on a sample of milk from a dairy farm showed 10 times the accepted level of a radioactive isotope.

Milkavita, the company that the dairy farm supplies, sued Minsk-based Yuras Karmanau, who wrote the article, saying he had damaged its reputation. The company makes cheese, primarily for export to Russia.

Judge Tatyana Sapega ruled in Milkavita’s favor Thursday and ordered Karmanau to pay court costs and to tell AP about the ruling. She accepted the testimony of a laboratory representative who confirmed the test results but said Karmanau did not have specialist scientific knowledge needed to interpret them.

Ian Phillips, AP’s vice president for international news, said the AP stands by Karmanau’s reporting.

“The AP strongly disagrees with the court’s decision and unreservedly stands behind journalist Yuras Karmanau,” Phillips said in a statement. “Mr. Karmanau’s reporting is a fair and accurate account of the lingering effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on Belarus 30 years after the accident. The court’s refusal to consider key evidence in support of Mr. Karmanau raises serious concerns, and AP looks forward to vindication on appeal.”

The independent Belarusian Association of Journalists expressed concern.

“The verdict in this trial substantially pushes the boundaries of freedom of speech in this country since it puts into jeopardy the very possibility of conducting important journalistic investigations in Belarus,” the group said in a statement.

During the trial, which began in October, Sapega turned down Karmanau’s key motions. He was not allowed to introduce as evidence the results from the laboratory test, or evidence showing how the milk sample was collected and tested. He also was not allowed to call some witnesses including an engineer from the dairy company and a scholar quoted in the article.

Karmanau’s lawyers also argued that Article 52 of Belarus’ media law holds that a journalist cannot be held responsible for publishing findings or information provided by a government agency, which the laboratory is. The judge did not address that argument in her ruling.

Chernobyl, a nuclear power plant in Ukraine near the Belarusian border, suffered an explosion in 1986 often described as the world’s worst nuclear accident. The fallout contaminated a large swath of northern Ukraine and southeastern Belarus.

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
Mexico

7.1 Magnitude Quake Kills 119 as Buildin ...

2 hours ago
Mexico

TUSGS Says Mexico Quake Magnitude 7.1

7 hours ago
Business

Kohl's to Start Accepting Amazon Returns ...

8 hours ago
World

Trump Lawyer: Senate Panel Delays Privat ...

8 hours ago
Most Popular

TUSGS Says Mexico Quake Magnitude 7.1

By The Associated Press
Mexico

Mancera Pays Tribute to 85 Earthquake in ...

By Notimex
Mexico

Hurricane Maria Smashes Dominica, Now Me ...

By The Associated Press
World

7.1 Magnitude Quake Kills 119 as Buildin ...

By The Associated Press
Mexico

Mexican Independence Day: A Quick Guide

By Peter Appleby
Mexico