Trial of Silich: Minsk court confiscates Belsat TV equipment


Belsat TV contributor Ales Silich has been tried in Minsk for ‘illegal use of the Belsat trademark’ on Thursday.

Judge Anastasia Papko found Ales Silich guilty of illegally using the Belsat trademark. She imposed BYN 875.5 fine on him and ordered to confiscate a camera, a microphone, a computer case and two laptops.

“Appearing before courts has become the everyday for Belsat TV contributors, and we are not comfortable with that. I will appeal against the decision. It is crucial we should ask questions, look into the eye of judges, fight the good fight,” Ales Silich commented on the ruling.

Previously, our colleagues Ales Barazenka and Aliaksandr Liubianchuk faced the same charge, which resulted in confiscating the channel’s equipment priced at about €20,000:

In July 2017, Minsk department for combating economic crime drew a report upon Ales Barazenka ‘for violation of copyright, related rights and patent’. The main evidence was mysterious logo stickers on the equipment, which, according to the reporter, appeared on his camera after it had been seized by the police. On October 10, the same judge Papko imposed a fine of BYN920 ($460) on Barazenka; the expensive video equipment which had been seized from the journalist on March 25 was confiscated as well.

In March 2017, the police detained cameraman Aliaksandr Liubianchuk during the search in Minsk offices of Belsat TV. They took away all his personal equipment, and took all the computers out of the ‘Belsat’ office. Along with 9 Belsat TV computers, the police seized a GoPro camera, a video camera, a picture camera, microphone which belong to the cameraman. “They put stickers ‘Belsat’ on my equipment and seized it,” the journalist stated.

In January 2018, judge Anastasia Papko ultimately ruled to confiscate some equipment that was seized from Belsat TV during the search in March.

Last year fines to the tune of $25,000 were imposed on Belsat TV journalists and contributors. For the first month of this year, there have been seven court proceedings over cases of ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’ by our colleagues.

The case about the Belsat trademark has lasted for about five years. According to the BELSATplus company owner Andrey Belyakou, our channel has been violating the interests of his business. The businessman appealed to the Supreme Court of Belarus, but it did not satisfy his demands.

Then BELSATplus company owner tried to ban our channel from using the Belsat TV trademark. At first, the Supreme Court dismissed the claims.

The re-examination of the case was initiated by the Presidium of the Supreme Court, and the case was heard by another panel of judges. On September 4, 2014, the court granted the appeal of Andrey Belyakou and banned our channel from using the “Belsat TV” trademark for broadcasts on the territory of Belarus and on the web page.

In 2017, Belyakou filed another complaint against Belsat TV.

See also