European Federation of Journalists

Solidarity with Belarusian journalists: “I am a journalist. Why do you beat me?”

The Polish Association of Journalists (SDP), in cooperation with the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today presented the book “I am a journalist. Why do you beat me? “, as part of an action of solidarity with repressed journalists in Belarus.

The book is a collection of 20 stories of Belarusian journalists, victims of repression just because they fulfill their professional duty: to inform about the demonstrations taking place in their country. The director of the publication is Sergiy Tomilenko, President of NUJU, member of the Steering Committee of the EFJ. The authors of the reports and interviews are Belarusian journalists: Kateryna Andreeva (currently serving a two-month prison sentence), Olga Ivashenko, Ihor Ilyash and Ukrainian journalist Nazariy Vivcharyk.

“We want information about the persecution of journalists in Belarus to be disseminated as widely as possible and heard around the world,” said Krzysztof Skowronski, president of SDP.

“Words are our weapons. We will protect journalists. We will not remain silent about what is happening in Belarus. We will demand respect for our rights and our work,” added Sergiy Tomilenko.

The heroes of the stories presented in the book are journalists from the independent Belarusian media, including Belsat, Euroradio, Nasha Niva, Radio Svoboda, portal. The titles of the book’s chapters show how incredibly difficult the living and working conditions of Belarusian journalists are today: “They stripped me naked and kicked me in the stomach”, “I was locked up in a torture chamber”, “I was like in the war”, “When I was hit by a bullet, I said ‘oh’ and kept running”…

“Since the beginning of this terrible crisis, I am very proud of the international mobilisation in favour of Belarusian journalists. In these difficult times, we need international solidarity more than ever. And I regret the slow reaction of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Dear colleagues, you can count on the EFJ to continue to put pressure on European policy-makers. The EFJ will continue to support free and independent journalism in Belarus,” said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez.

The book hopes to reach as wide an audience as possible around the world, which is why it has been published in five languages: Polish, English, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian.

Download here the English version of the book “I am a journalist. Why do you beat me?”.