European Federation of Journalists

Belarus: EFJ and BAJ demand immediate release of Yahor Martsinovich

Picture credit: Nasha Niva.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its affiliate the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release journalist Yahor Martsinovich.

On Wednesday 23 September, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Nasha Niva, Yahor Martsinovich, was arrested on suspicion of defamation in a report mentioning the Belarusian Deputy Minister of the Interior, Alyaksandr Barsukou.

The journalist’s flat was searched by police. Yahor Martsinovich was held in pre-trial detention for 3 days.

The EFJ and BAJ once again call on the Belarusian authorities to decriminalise defamation.

“We consider that the criminal proceedings against Yahor Martsinovich are primarily aimed at silencing him and intimidating his editors,” said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “We call for his immediate release and the lifting of criminal proceedings against him.”

According to BAJ monitoring, since the fraudulent presidential elections of 9 August, 191 journalists have been detained in Belarus to prevent them from covering violence and electoral fraud.