BAJ demands to unblock websites, stop pressure on media, and ensure release of publications
On Friday evening it was reported that the Ministry of Information had restricted access of Belarusian users to websites of a large number of media and political movements. Most well-known of them are Radio Svaboda, Belsat TV, Euroradio, Solidarity newspaper, Udf.by, The Village, By.tribuna.com, Vitebsk Courier, People's News of Vitebsk, Masheka.by, and the website of the Human rights center Viasna.
Also, since August 9, Belarusian users have had no access to the website of BAJ, an association of journalists, member of the International and European Federations of Journalists.
On Friday, under the pretext of the printing press failure, the state-owned Belarusian Printing House disrupted the release of Narodnaya Volya and Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi newspapers. For Komsomolskaya Pravda, this is the third time since the presidential election.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists:
- links the blocking of Internet resources and the disruption of print publications with the governments' attempt to block information about post-election protests in the country and severe violence against their participants;
- considers such actions as indirect censorship and obstruction of the legitimate activities of media in Belarus;
- states that these actions not only violate the rights of journalists and the media, but also restrict the constitutional right of citizens to receive complete, reliable and timely information;
- demands that the country's authorities immediately stop pressure on the press, ensure uninterrupted publication of printed publications, and unblock access to the blocked websites; and
- calls on Belarusian and international organizations to support this statement.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists
August 22, 2020