BAJ sent urgent letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye, informing about the recent violent attack on the correspondent of TUT.by portal Pavel Dabravolski, and about the continuing administrative prosecution of freelance journalists contributing to foreign mass media without accreditation.
Last week, representatives of two journalistic unions – the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and the Belarusian Union of Journalists (BUJ) discussed ethics of journalists in social networks.
Journalists filed a collective petition to the Ministry of Information and the General prosecutor’s office demanding to consider the incident of beating of Pavel Dabravolski, identify and bring to liability the policemen involved in the beating, and to take measure to prevent such incidents in future.
The Presidential election was the main factor that influenced the situation of mass media in Belarus in 2015. The election was held on October 11, 2015. On the eve of the Presidential election, the authorities introduced stricter norms into the media legislation and its application practice. Apparently, the decision was also grounded on the intention of Belarusian government to reinforce control over the media coverage of the gradually aggravating economic situation in the country.
On January 25, the media reported that the criminal case against the journalist Aliaksandr Alesin had been suspended. It turned out that probably the case was suspended due to the fact that article 356.1, with which he had been charged (establishing cooperation with special services, security or intelligence services of a foreign state), was eliminated from the Criminal Code by the Law dated January 5, 2016.
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.
OSCE Representative condemns police violence against journalist in Belarus and reiterates call on authorities to stop persecuting members of media
VIENNA, 27 January 2016 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today condemned an attack against a journalist by police officers in Belarus, and called on the authorities to ensure journalists’ safety.
On January 26, the Board of BAJ made a statement concerning yesterday’s beating of Pavel Dabravolski, journalist of TUT.by, in the building of Frunzenski district court of Minsk.
Journalist Pavel Dabravolski was covering a scandalous graffiti case when he was detained, beaten and fined.
The Committee for State Security (KGB) informed Aliaksandr Alesin last week, the prosecution against the journalist had been suspended.