Wall of silence in Belarus: massive withdrawal of press accreditations

After the arbitrary detention of about 50 journalists on Thursday, the Belarusian authorities are stepping up the withdrawal of press accreditations for journalists covering the country’s news for foreign media. A wall of silence is gradually isolating Belarus from the rest of the world. The EFJ condemns the inaction and wait-and-see attitude of the international community. The Belarusian Interdepartmental Commission on Security in the Information Sphere has proceeded to a massive cancellation of press accreditations issued to journalists working for foreign media (AFP, AP, ARD, BBC, RFE/RL, Reuters, RFI…) in recent days. The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has drawn…

Belarus: criminal complaint against obstruction of journalists’ work

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) on Friday demanded the opening of a criminal investigation against those who detained at least 47 journalists on Thursday 27 August to prevent them from covering the protests against disputed President Lukashenko in Belarus. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) fully supports the legal proceedings initiated by its affiliate BAJ. The legal action is launched on the basis of article 198 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (“Obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”). BAJ asked the chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus to initiate…

Belarusian police detained 47 journalists on Thursday

Belarusian police detained 47 local and international journalists preparing to cover protests in Minsk and Brest, on Thursday. The police confiscated their telephones and identity documents. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) considers these arbitrary detentions as another act of censorship by the Belarusian authorities. The Belarusian Interior Ministry later denied the journalists had been detained. It said the journalists had been driven to the Oktyabrsky District Department of Internal Affairs for officers to check they had valid accreditation allowing them to work as journalists. Most of these journalists had planned to cover a demonstration in which hundreds of anti-government protesters…

EFJ calls for urgent OSCE mission to Belarus

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has documented nearly 40 cases of journalists injured, beaten or raped by law enforcement officials. Other civil society organisations have documented cases of torture, disappearances and killings in Belarus. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) considers that these human rights violations justify the urgent dispatch of an OSCE mission to Belarus. Stories of abuse and brutal beatings by riot police emerge in Belarus as more than 7,000 people were detained after rigged election. “Disputed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko does not seem at all willing to open dialogue with the majority, as requested by the international…

Belarus: judicial repression after police repression

Belarusian journalists are now facing a wave of judicial repression, following police repression. The Belarusian judiciary is stepping up prosecutions for participation in unauthorised demonstrations against journalists who were actually present to cover the events. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) to call on Belarusian law enforcement agencies to immediately stop administrative and judicial proceedings against journalists. Belsat journalist Ekaterina Andreeva (our picture) will be tried in the Zavadski district court of Minsk on Thursday. She was detained while she was covering a protest rally on 14 July. She is accused of participating…

Detentions of journalists have started again in Belarus

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) notes new cases of detentions of journalists in Belarus. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins BAJ in demanding that the authorities let journalists do their job. Moreover, this Monday, Belarusian riot police arrested two leaders of the pro-democracy movement, Olga Kovalkova and trade unionist Sergei Dilevsky, leader of the strike committee at the Minsk Tractor Works. Journalist Yauhen Merkis was detained in Homel on 21 August. He was covering the protest actions when policemen approached and said that they had opened an administrative case against the journalists for participating in the actions. Journalists…

Massive blocking of access to the media today in Belarus

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) in demanding the immediate lifting of blocking measures on news websites in Belarus. On Friday evening, the Belarusian Ministry of Information announced that it had blocked a large number of news websites and websites of civil society organisations. 73 websites in total. Among the blocked sites: Belsat, By.tribuna.com, Euroradio, Goalsby, Masheka.by, Narodnye novosti Vitebsk, Radio Liberty, Solidarity, Svadoba, Udf.by, The Village, Vitebsk Kurier… Since 9 August, BAJ’s website has been blocked in Belarus. The EFJ affiliate in Belarus is using its Telegram channel to share the most important…