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    REPORTS BY NTV BUREAU IN MINSK NOT TO UNDERGO ANY CENSORSHIP

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    MOSCOW, February 4, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- Deputy general director of the NTV TV company for information broadcasting Alexander Gerasimov said that the NTV bureau in Belarus is recommencing its work, and reports will undergo no censorship on the part of Minsk.

    "There is, there was, and there will be no censorship in principle. Despite everything, we live in democratic states," he said.

    According to him, the agreement on cooperation between the Information Ministry of Belarus and the NTV TV company, signed on January 19, 2004, "simply regulates our relationship." As Gerasimov noted, "we will, in particular, objectively, comprehensively and regularly cover the developments in the Republic of Belarus." The agreement will be in force for five years and can be automatically extended.

    Gerasimov said that NTV assumes additional obligations in preparing reports about the activities of the president, government and other state structures. "We will interact with these bodies' press services," he noted.

    Gerasimov went on to say, "We must not discuss and agree upon our materials with anybody. We will simply have to take into consideration the stance of the press services, which are actually speakers of the state structures we will be talking of, in covering any event, which is linked with a state structure in one way or another." The NTV bureau in Minsk was shut down last July. The report by NTV correspondent Pavel Selin about the funeral of well-known Belarus writer Vasil Bykov gave the Belarus authorities cause to close the NTV representative office. In the Belarus authorities' opinion, the facts, set out by the journalist in the report, conflicted with reality.

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