European Federation of Journalists

Belarus: repression continues on the 3rd anniversary of the fraudulent elections

Credits: Ricardo Gutiérrez / EFJ.

In Belarus, since the fraudulent presidential election of 9 August 2020, journalists have faced hundreds of arrests and detentions. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its Belarusian affiliate, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), in condemning the indiscriminate repression by the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko. The EFJ and BAJ demand the immediate release of the 35 journalists and media workers currently imprisoned in Belarus. The EFJ joins IFEX in supporting BAJ ongoing Solidarity Marathon on behalf of imprisoned journalists.

9 August 2023 is the third anniversary of the most recent presidential election in the Republic of Belarus. Three years ago, manipulated elections kept “Europe’s last dictator” in power. In a context of relentless repression, marked by heavy criminal sentences handed down to journalists who have just done their job, BAJ and the Lithuanian Union of Journalists (LZS) launched, three months ago, a campaign in support of Belarusian journalists. The Solidarity Marathon is a call to action for fellow journalists, human rights organizations, and well-known public figures fighting for the democratic values of free expression and the right to information.

BAJ has produced portraits of imprisoned journalists. The EFJ joins BAJ in asking people all around the world to download them, print them out, take pictures holding them up in recognizable places of their city, and then to share them on social media. “We hope that as this Solidarity Marathon travels around the world, everyone who participates will be able to influence the Belarusian regime by demanding the release of all journalists who are behind bars, paying for their profession and for the right to free expression with their personal freedom and their lives”, said BAJ.

“We do not forget our Belarusian colleagues, who give us every day the justification for our raison d’être as journalists,” said EFJ President Maja Sever. “We will continue to fight alongside BAJ and all Belarusian democrats”.

While it seems Lukashenko has no intention of stopping the crackdown on civil society and journalists, the EFJ will continue to show unwavering support to the brave journalists repressed for exercising their work and demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Belarus.

Read also: “An IFEX Q&A with the Belarusian Association of Journalists: Defending press freedom is a marathon, not a sprint”