Press Conference: Freelance Journalism in Belarus | 18 September

The latest developments in Belarus raise strong concerns on media freedom and journalists’ working conditions. New updates to the National Media Law now prohibits journalists from contributing to any foreign media, as one of many restrictions introduced in June 2018. Cases such as “BelTA” case, increasing arrests, surveillance, libels and fines against editors and journalists are becoming a part of everyday working conditions in Belarus. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) and the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) invite you to a press conference to discuss the increasing threats against freelance journalists and state of media freedom in Belarus with journalists, experiencing the situation first hand. Speakers: Larysa Shchyrakova, a…

Belarus: The IFJ/EFJ condemn Police raid on independent media agencies

UPDATE 27.08.2018 TUT.BY news editors Halina Ulasik and Hanna Kaltyhina, journalist Hanna Yermachonak, BelaPAN editor-in-chief Iryna Leushyna, journalist Tatsyana Karavenkava, and Deutche Welle correspondent Paulyuk Bykowski, also editor of FINANCE.TUT.BY Dzmitry Bobryk have been summoned again by the investigators of “BeltTA” case on 27 August. All named editors and journalists have been issued a temporary restriction of leaving Belarus, EFJ’s affiliate the Belarusian Union of Journalists (BAJ) reported. UPDATE 10.08.2018 The Investigative Committee announced releasing all journalists related to the so called “BelTA” case from detention or questioning on August 10th, EFJ’s affiliate the Belarusian Union of Journalists (BAJ) reported. Investigative Committee announced that Maryna Zolatava,…

Belarus: Journalist Natallia Radzina receives death threats

Death threatening emails were sent to editor and journalist Natallia Radzina, currently based in Poland, on 22nd July, raising concerns on safety and protection of the journalist. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) expressed a deep concern over the threats to the well-known journalist and requested the Polish authorities to take necessary actions to ensure the safety of journalists. Natallia Radzina has been receiving threats previously, but the intimidating style and arrogance of the letters pushed her to bring the contents to the general public, she said, and added that the letters will not stop her from working. The journalist…

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…

Belarus: more media censorship and control with new amendments of the Media Law

The crackdown on Belarusian journalists has been intensifying, with 50 fines already issued during 2018, mostly for cooperation with foreign media, and in numerous cases, the amounts were exceeding the average salary of the country, highlighted Andrei Bastunent, the chairperson of Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) during a press conference in Brussels back in June 2018. The representatives of BAJ visited Brussels on 19th of June, 2018, as a part of IFJ and EBU cooperation “Media for Democratic Belarus”, to meet the European Institutions and OSCE for discussing the new amendments of the Media Law, as well as the situation of the freedom of press…

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 detains and fines journalist for filming police attacking protesters

Paul Dabravolski, a reporter working for the Belarusian news website TUT.BY was arrested and given a fine of 9.450.000 Belarusian rubles (420 EUR) for filming police beating two protesters during a court hearing on a graffiti case on 25 January. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) have today condemned the arrest and urged the authority to withdraw all charges against Dabravolski. Dabravolski is a member of the BAJ. He was arrested while he was covering a hearing where two supporters were protesting in the court with a banner saying “stop political prosecution”. In a…

Belarus fines freelance journalist for working with “foreign media”

Belarus continues its bad practice by handing over the first fine of the year on 13 January to freelance journalist, Larysa Shchyrakova, for working with “foreign media”.Following the ruling, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) have called for an immediate appeal of the ruling and urged the government to scrap the existing law. Shchyrakova, was fined 4 620 000 Belarusian rubles (around 225 EUR) by the Homiel District Court for breaking Article 22.9 of Belarusian Code on Administrative Offenses which forbids freelance journalists in the country from working with foreign media outlets. With…

Belarus files 24 cases against freelance journalists in 2015

Working as freelance journalists can be considered as a crime in Belarus. Since the beginning of this year, the Belarusian authority has filed 24 cases (see infographic below) against freelance journalists imposing fines for their works. In all the cases, the journalists are accused of violating article 22.9 of the administrative code (unlawful production and distribution of mass media products). According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), an affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the total sum of the fines imposed on journalists so far this year amounted to 117 million Belarusian rubles (over 6.000 EUR). The EFJ…

Belarus imposes more fines on freelance journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is extremely concerned by the increasing numbers of fines imposed on Belarusian freelance journalists for “illegal creation of mass media production” since April 2014. On June 1, the judge of the Dziarzhynsk district court Ina Shayko ruled against journalists Volha Chaychyts and Siarhei Krauchuk and demanded them to pay 310 EUR each (5 million 400 thousand rubles) for illegal production of mass media products. On June 3, the Lenin district court of Brest also fined journalist Alina Litvinchuk for double violations of Article 22.9 (illegal production and distribution of mass media products); the fine…

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