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TUT.BY media outlet

23.08.2022

 

TUT.BY media outlet

Date

Form of repression

Description

7 August 2020

Written warning

The Ministry of Information issued a written warning to OOO TUT.BY MEDIA for distributing "false information that may harm state or public interests."

 

On 5 August, TUT.BY media outlet published the article "7 times more voters and 'secret' voting results reports. What violations did the observers note and what did the CEC say?" in which violations registered by observers were cited. The text also contained a commentary by CEC.

 

The Ministry of Information stated that some information in the article (related to the time an observer spent at a polling station) is not true.

 

7 September 2020

Written warning

The Ministry of Information issued a second written warning to OOO TUT.BY MEDIA for distributing "false information that may harm state or public interests."

 

On 25 August 2020, the FINANCE.TUT.BY section featured the article "The State Control Committee will be able to pay large bonuses to employees who approve themselves in high-profile cases." The author made a mistake in the article (the bonus amounts were incorrect).

 

TUT.BY editorial team apologized for the mistake. The article was promptly corrected.

9 September 2020

Written warning

The Ministry of Information issued a third written warning to OOO TUT.BY MEDIA for the article "Law enforcement came to TUT.BY editor's home. A criminal case on mass riots opened against her daughter."

 

The Ministry of Information indicated that no criminal case had been initiated against Valeria Ulasik, and the search was carried out "to verify the information received about her involvement in organizing mass riots in Minsk."

15 September 2020

Written warning

The Ministry of Information issued a third written warning to OOO TUT.BY MEDIA for the article "Belarusian customs office asked to confirm the absence of calls to overthrow the government in the Harry Potter book."

 

According to the Ministry of Information, the information that "at the request of the customs office, the publishing house shall provide proof that the book contains no calls to overthrow the current government" is untrue and can harm state interests.

29 September 2020

Suspension of mass media (online media) publiсation

Following the order of Minister of Information Ihar Lutski, the publication of TUT.BY online media was suspended from 1 October to 30 December 2020.

 

12 November 2020

Written warning

The Supreme Court, at the claim of OOO TUT.BY MEDIA to the Ministry of Information, invalidated 1 of 3 written warnings (the one of 9 September 2020).

Other written warnings were recognized by the court as lawful.

19 January 2021

Termination of mass media (online media) publiсation

On 18 September 2020, the Ministry of Information filed a statement of claim to the Minsk City Economic Court against OOO TUT.BY MEDIA for termination of TUT.BY online media publication.

 

The grounds for the suit were "several written warnings issued following the violation of the Law on Mass Media by the TUT.BY online media outlet. The warnings concerned the materials of the news outlet, which, according to the agency, "spread inaccurate information causing harm to the state and public interests."

 

On 3 December 2020, the Minsk City Economic Court satisfied the claim in full.

 

On 19 January 2021, the court of appeal dismissed OOO TUT.BY MEDIA's complaint. The court's decision to terminate the publication of TUT.BY online media has entered into legal force.

 

The termination of the online media publication essentially meant the deprivation of the status of the media, but the TUT.BY media outlet continued its work all that time.

 

18 May 2021

Criminal case

Department of Financial Investigations of the State Control Committee started a criminal case against OOO TUT.BY MEDIA executives under Part 2 Article 243 of the Criminal Code (grand tax evasion).

 

It was stated that "as a result of unwarranted use by OOO TUT.BY MEDIA of government incentive provided to the High Tech Park residents, serious damage was caused to the state."

18 May 2021

Search of the editorial office

Within the criminal case against OOO TUT.BY MEDIA management under Part 2 Article 243 of the Criminal Code (grand tax evasion), the financial investigative bodies of the State Control Committee "carried out urgent investigative and other legal proceedings to establish all the circumstances and persons involved in the unlawful activity."

 

The TUT.BY media offices in Minsk, Brest, Homel, Vitsebsk, Mahilou, and Hrodna, as well as homes of some of its staff, were searched. The Minsk office was searched until late in the night.

 

15 current and former TUT.BY staff members were arrested and put in a pre-trial detention center:

  • Ludmila Chekina, TUT.BY CEO
  • Maryna Zolatava, editor-in-chief
  • Volha Loika, editor-in-chief of the political and economic news block
  • Alena Talkachova, Money and Authorities section journalist
  • Anzhela Asad, accountant
  • Iryna Rybalka, assistant director for general issues
  • Maria Novik, deputy chief accountant
  • Ala Lapatka, chief operating officer
  • Aliaksandr Daineka, assistant director for technical issues
  • Andrei Audzieyeu, Publisher Box manager
  • Siarhei Pavalishau, Hoster.by CEO
  • Daria Danilava, TAM.BY project manager
  • Katsiaryna Tkachenka, TUT.BY legal adviser
  • Iryna Kastsiuchenka, ex-TUT.BY legal adviser
  • Yulia Charniauskaya, widow of the TUT.BY founder Yury Ziser

As of 28 June 2022, former TUT.BY CEO Ludmila Chekina, ex-editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava, and journalist Alena Talkachova remain in custody in this case.

18 May 2021

Website blocking

According to the website of the Ministry of Information, "following a notice from the General Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Information decided to restrict access to Tut.by internet resource and its copies."

 

"Numerous violations of the Law on Mass Media when it comes to posting prohibited information" were named as the reason. It was related to materials that contained "information on behalf of the unregistered BYSOL Foundation."

18 May 2021

Seizure of equipment

Kiryl Valoshyn, co-founder of the TUT.BY media outlet, said at a press conference on 21 May 2021 that so far it's impossible to resume the operation of the outlet as a mirror site under a different URL.

 

"The restriction of access to our servers looks like an illegal takeover seizure," he said. Mr. Valoshyn assumes that the servers used to host TUT.BY were seized by law enforcement officers during the search.

13 August 2021

Declaring content extremist

On 3 June 2021, the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk, having considered the petition of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, recognized the TUT.BY content, social media, messenger services, as well as logos (TUT.BY digital characters) as extremist.

7 October 2021

Criminal case

The Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against OOO TUT.BY MEDIA executives and staff and other persons under part 3 of article 130 of the Criminal Code (incitement of racial, national, religious, or other social hatred or discord committed by a group of persons).

 

14 June 2022

Recognition as an extremist organization

On 14 June 2022, OOO TUT.BY MEDIA was judicially recognized as an extremist organization by the Minsk City Economic Court. TUT.BY MEDIA work and the use of the outlet's symbols and emblems were forbidden on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, and the organization was liquidated.