Belarus: Freelance journalist Dzmitry Halko sentenced to four years in low-security prison colony

UPDATE 18.07.2018 Dzmitry Halko, the freelance journalist on trial after allegedly assaulting a police officer in November 2017, was sentenced to four years in a low-security prison colony and will have to pay a compensation of 850 Belarusian rubles to the victims, reports the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ). Journalist has appealed the decision. During the hearing, Halko’s lawyer drew attention to circumstances of the case, which might be related to Halko’s professional work and critical views towards the government. The EFJ supports BAJ in strongly condemning the decision of Belarusian legislative authorities against the journalist Dzmitry Halko. ——————————————– Freelance journalist Dzmitry Halko is facing charges for assaulting a policeman, but…

WPFD : Statement of solidarity with prosecuted Belarusian journalists

On the eve of the World Press Freedom Day 2018 (WPFD), the European Federation of Journalists expresses its solidarity with prosecuted journalists in Belarus. Unfortunately, the working conditions for journalists in Belarus cannot be regarded as free at all nowadays. Since 2015, the Belarusian official authorities have started a repression campaign against freelance journalists, who cooperate with foreign media. As a result of this campaign, the Belarusian journalists were fined 69 times for the alleged illegal production of mass media products in 2017. The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), which is a local member of EFJ, has always considered the…

Belarus: harrassment against freelance journalists on the rise

On 16 November 2017, the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), organised a one-day meeting in Minsk focusing on “The Perspectives and challenges for freelance journalism in Belarus and Europe”.  Around 40 journalists, including media lawyers, EFJ/IFJ affiliates and the EU Delegation to Belarus, discussed how to best put the desperate issue of freelance journalism at the heart of local and national authorities in Belarus and the European Union. Renate Schroeder from the EFJ, Michael Hirschler from the German Journalists’ Association (DJV), and other colleagues from the EFJ’s Freelance Expert Group (FREG)…

Ukrainian journalist arrested in Belarus on spy charges

Pavlo Sharoyko, a Ukrainian Radio correspondent (Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine), was arrested in Minsk, Belarus, on 25 October 2017 by the Belarusian KGB. Sharoyko is only being allowed representation provided by Belarusian authorities, says Sergiy Tomilenko, head of Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists (NUJU). Sharoyko’s colleagues have said that the journalist was working on stories related to the search for Pavlo Hryb, a Ukrainian citizen who disappeared in Belarus after being arrested and was later found to have been sent to Russia. Sharoyko also investigated cases involving Russia’s Ukrainian political prisoners, and reported on military exercises taking place in…

Our letter to CoE Secretary General: Include Belarus to the Platform

Partners of the Council of Europe Platform for the Promotion of Journalism and the Protection of Journalists are deeply concerned by the aggravating current situation in Belarus regarding mass detention of journalists. They urge Council of Europe to include Belarus to the list of the countries addressed by the Platform. Since the beginning of March 93 journalists were detained by the police, while covering protests across the country. While the majority was released the same day, at least 8 journalists were sentenced to 5-15 days in jail. The Association of European Journalists (AEJ), Article 19 (A19), the Committee to Protect…

Mass detentions of journalists in Belarus

Update (28.03.2017): Aliaksandr Barazenka, Belsat cameraman, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail yesterday, announced a hunger strike. On March 25 he was detained by the police, while covering the protests in Minsk. Despite repeating several times during the detention that he is a journalist, he was charged with “minor hooliganism”. More journalists were prosecuted in Belarus today: Dzianis Ivashyn was sentenced to 5 days in jail, Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau to 15 days in jail, Syarjuk Kijko to 12 days in jail and Viktar Stukau was fined. In Belarus, since Friday March 24, 2017 the law enforcement agencies detained 55 (totally…

Three more journalists detained in Belarus

UPDATE (24.03.2017):  Hanna Dus’ and Viktar Kachan were detained yesterday in Babruysk, when they tried to report on a trial, the journalists were taken to the prosecutor’s office for a talk and later released. Sviatlana Tsishko, the editor of the website Kraj.by, was fined for approximately €200 for publishing a story about a protest on the grounds that the article can be interpreted as an invitation to the unsanctioned event. UPDATE (23.03.2017):  Two more journalists Liubou Luniova and Volha Davydava were detained yesterday in Minsk, while reporting from the police department on the detention of a political activist. They were released in…

Belarus: police interfere with journalists work during protests

UPDATE (14.03.2017): The Belarusian Association of Journalists protests detentions of 18 journalists and obstruction of their professional activities by law enforcement forces. The BAJ believes that the court ruling on March 13, where journalists Halina Abakunchyk and K. Bakhvalava were found administratively liable, is unlawful and illegitimate. On March 12, protests were planned in three Belarusian cities – Babruysk, Orsha and Rahachou due to the unemployment tax, which will force people to pay approximately $200 if they are unemployed for more than six months per year. Law enforcement agencies unfolded a large-scale operation to prevent journalists from covering the events. The…

Russian blogger extradited to Azerbaijan

UPDATE (07.03.2017): The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) alert submitted on the detention of Alexander Lapshin to Council of Europe platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. He is currently located at the Detention Center of the Baku Investigative Prison Nr 1. ——————- Russian blogger Alexander Lapshin, who also holds Ukrainian and Israeli citizenships, was extradited to Azerbaijan, after the Supreme Court in Belarus decided to send him to Baku despite the objections from Moscow. The blogger, who is famous for writing about traveling, was arrested in Minsk in December…

12 journalists died reporting in 2016 in Europe, says IFJ

At the end of each year, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) publishes a list of all the journalists and media professionals killed in the course of their work over the previous 12 months. As part of its ongoing commitment to tackle impunity and campaign for greater safety for journalists, the IFJ is publishing The story behind the killings – a in-depth analysis of each region with an explanation of the victims and circumstances of each death. The report lists details of 93 media professionals killed in work-related incidents such as targeted murders, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents last year, a…

EFJ and IFJ condemn murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet in Ukraine

A prominent journalist specialising in relations between Russia and Ukraine, Pavel Sheremet, has been murdered today by a car bomb in Kiev. The International Federation of Journalists and European Federation of Journalists, have joined affiliates in Ukraine and Russia, in condemning the killing. Pavel Sheremet, who worked for the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper and radio Vesti died when the car he was driving exploded shortly after it started, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office. He was heading to the radio’s office to host his morning show. Some reports claim the car belonged to his employer, Alyona Pritula, the founder and chief editor of…

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