Belarusan journalist Pavel Sharamet received yesterday in Minsk the International Press Freedom Award for his defense of professional rights with “great courage and ability despite constant persecution.” A delegation of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists handed the award to Sharamet after the authorities had forbidden him to attend the scheduled ceremony in the United States. Sharamet is currently the chief editor of the opposition “Belarusskaya delovaya gazeta” (AP, December 9). In 1996-1997, as head of the Minsk bureau of Russian Public Television (ORT), Sharamet was jailed and prosecuted after a series of reports critical of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s rule. Sharamet is still serving a two-year suspended sentence stemming from that case which created a scandal in Russia and internationally. President Boris Yeltsin, pressed to intercede in Sharamet’s favor, ended up publicly deferring to Lukashenka in the case (for background on the Sharamet case see the Monitor, July-December 1997, passim).
LUCINSCHI SEEKS INTERETHNIC CONSENSUS THROUGH “EUROPEAN PATRIOTISM.”