The publication is a detailed analysis of the situation concerning media freedom in all six countries of the Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as a prognosis of future developments. The book also contains the most recent Eastern Partnership Media Freedom Index (for July – October 2014), prepared by the project’s experts.
Within the reporting period, there were threats and obstacles to journalists’ work; state agencies kept answering something about the blocking of websites in December; and the commission on extremism announced it found no banned contents in a human rights report.
On February 10, the Supreme Court of Belarus heard the appeal of Lohvinau against the decision to fine the bookstore for “illegal entrepreneur’s activities”.
On March 16 the Ministry of Information registered Lohvinau bookstore in the Register of distributors of printed products.
Within the reporting period, two journalists were found guilty of participating in the street action which they covered; it became known how many informational materials were examined by the commission on extremism; and state agencies kept answering to BAJ what they thought about websites blocking in the last decade of December.
Lohvinau tried to dispute six refusals of registration of his bookstore as a distributor of print products; however, the Supreme Court supported the standing of the registering body.
The first month of the year went on with one more fine to a journalist for contribution to foreign mass media without accreditation; also, several journalists’ complaints were dismissed; a blogger was fined for insulting an official on duty; and the Supreme Court upheld the warning issued by the Information Ministry to the independent newspaper Narodnaya Volya.
The amendments tighten state control over informational sphere in Belarus (over the Internet in the first place) and restrict citizens’ right to free expression and the right to gather and disseminate information, guaranteed by the Constitution.