Ahead of European games in Minsk, EFJ urges Belarusian authorities to respect press freedom

Ahead of the European Games to take place in Minsk from 21 to 30 June 2019, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) reiterates its call on Belarusian authorities to respect press freedom and journalists’ right to work in complete freedom. The EFJ further calls on the European Olympic Committee to advocate for press freedom in Belarus, its host for the European games. At the moment, the situation is particularly worrying for freelance journalists working in Belarus for foreign media outlets, who are denied accreditation and therefore imposed unjustified bans to carry out their journalistic activities. Since April 2014, freelance journalists…

Guidelines for foreign journalists covering the upcoming European Games in Belarus

From 21 to 30 June 2019, the second European Games will take place in Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) published some guidelines for journalists covering the sports event related to accreditations, security measures and safe communications. The memos are available in English and Belarusian. “We hope, the guidelines will contribute to better safety of our colleagues who may face problems covering the games,” said Aleh Aheyeu, BAJ deputy chairperson and head of BAJ Legal Center for Protection of the Media. “We would also like to offer BAJ services and assistance to foreign journalists…

The European Parliament calls for free press in Belarus

On 4 October, the European Parliament unanimously approved a resolution “on deterioration of media freedom in Belarus, notably the case of Charter 97” condemning the current situation of press freedom in Belarus, where independent news outlet and journalists suffer constant detention and state harassment. The resolution addresses the Belarusian government’s decision to block the internet access to the news website Charter 97 as well as pressures against journalists, freelancers and independent media. It calls on the EU institutions to monitor the situation of media freedom within the country and to condition the negotiations with Belarussian government to its commitment for the independence…

Nordic Freelance conference: solidarity to support freelance journalists under attack in Belarus

The Nordic Freelance Conference 2018 took place this year in Malmö, Sweden. The Frilans Riks, the freelance section within the Swedish Union of Journalist (SJF), organised a two day conference focusing on threats against freelance journalists in particular from right wing extremists, rise in self-censorship, dialogue with the police, media situation in Belarus, as well as the power structure of the big tech companies (“GAFA”). EFJ Director Renate Schroeder outlined the work of EFJ and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) with a special focus on its advocacy work in Brussels for improving freelance rights and monitoring increasing threats against (freelance)…

Media censorship in Belarus: “it is time for the EU to react”

Freelance journalists in Belarus face increasing threats, pressure and censorship and this is a concern Europeans should share, said Belarussian journalists Larysa Shchyrakova and Volha Chaichyts at a press conference held in Brussels, on Tuesday 18 September. The event was jointly organised by the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) together with their affiliate the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ). Larysa Shchyrakova and Volha Chaichyts are two Belarusian freelance journalists, working for Belsat TV, a ten-year-old television channel based in Warsaw, Poland. During the conference, the two female journalists exposed several problems they face in their country that they…

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 10.10.2018 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). In July Halko appealed the decision and was released from pre-trial detention. However, yesterday the Minsk City Court ruled to send the journalist to a labor camp, upholding the 4-year prison sentence imposed on him this summer. The EFJ supports BAJ in strongly condemning the decision of Belarusian legislative authorities against the journalist Dzmitry Halko. ——————————————– Freelance journalist Dzmitry Halko…

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…

WPFD : Statement of solidarity with prosecuted Belarusian journalists

On the eve of the World Press Freedom Day 2018 (WPFD), the European Federation of Journalists expresses its solidarity with prosecuted journalists in Belarus. Unfortunately, the working conditions for journalists in Belarus cannot be regarded as free at all nowadays. Since 2015, the Belarusian official authorities have started a repression campaign against freelance journalists, who cooperate with foreign media. As a result of this campaign, the Belarusian journalists were fined 69 times for the alleged illegal production of mass media products in 2017. The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), which is a local member of EFJ, has always considered the…

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