European Federation of Journalists

Repression is intensifying in Belarus: world leaders should take action

Picture credit: Sergei Gapon / AFP.

Repression of the media and journalists is intensifying in Belarus. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on world leaders and intergovernmental organisations to put pressure on the Belarusian regime to stop the violence against journalists and citizens who are peacefully demonstrating.

On Monday, several journalists clearly identified by distinctive signs were targeted by rubber bullet fire from KGB military units. The internet has been cut off and many news sites have been blocked.

The EFJ calls on the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE to take action to stop the violence against journalists and citizens in Belarus.

EFJ demands explanations from Belarusian authorities for press freedom violations identified and monitored in the last 24 hours by our affiliate the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ):

  • Journalists Tatiana Belashova, Elena Shcherbinskaya, and Vitaly Dubik are detained in Minsk;
  • “Meduza” journalist Maxim Solopov was beaten and arrested in Minsk before he disappeared;
  • Journalist Natalia Lubnevskaya was injured by a rubber bullet on Monday;
  • Journalist Dmitry Solovyov detained on Saturday in Mogilev will be tried today in a pre-trial detention center. He is accused of participating in an unauthorized action. He went on a hunger strike. Yesterday, the journalist’s wife could not even hand over water to her husband;
  • Journalist Vladimir Lunev went missing during a rally in Minsk yesterday;
  • Journalist Evgeny Nikolayevich is detained in Pinsk. He is accused of participating in an unauthorized action. He was severely beaten by the police;
  • Journalist Jan Roman (Polsat) is still detained in Grodno;
  • Ilya Pitalev, a photo correspondent for Russia Today, is detained in Zhodino;
  • “Nasha Niva”, one of the oldest Belarusian weekly newspapers, reported the detention of its editor-in-chief Yegor Martinovich;
  • Maxim Shved, a documentary filmmaker, was detained in Minsk;
  • Journalist Tatiana Kapitonova was injured during an attack by security forces;
  • Human rights activists reported detention of RT correspondent Konstantin Prydybaylo in Minsk;
  • Journalist Vitaly Dubik was detained in Minsk;
  • Journalists Marina Molchanova and Yevgeny Glagolev-Vaskovich were detained in Bobruisk.

The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) also reported the case of an Ukrainian journalist from the Associated Press, Mstyslav Chernov, severely beaten by security forces, on the night of August 10, during the dispersal of a protest in Minsk.

The Russian Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU) denounced the disappearance in Belarus of correspondent Nikita Telizhenko.

“There is an unprecedented repression of the press in Belarus,” said the EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “The Belarusian authorities want to impose censorship through terror. Intergovernmental organisations cannot be complicit in this repression through their passivity.”