The Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee have directed a common appeal to the Constitutional Court of Belarus with a request to express opinion concerning the legal uncertainty that causes further judicial persecution of journalists on charges under article 22.9 of Belarus Code on Administrative Offenses.
Concrete cases are described in the appeal, when courts in Belarus imposed fines on individuals for their cooperation with foreign mass media without accreditation, basing upon article 22.9 of Belarus Code on Administrative Offenses.
It is mentioned in the appeal that article 22.9 of Belarus Code on Administrative Offenses and particularly part 2 of this article envisage legal liability for illegal production and distribution of mass media products. However, according to the current law ‘On Mass Media’ the production of mass media products is implemented by legal entities only (paragraph 1, article 1).
Therefore, the Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee asked the Constitutional Court of Belarus to take a decision on adopting concrete proposals on introduction of relevant amendments to the existing media legislation in Belarus.
- All the time, we draw public attention to the fact that the actions of police and courts on prosecution of journalists under article 22.9 of Belarus Code on Administrative Offenses do not go in line with the law ‘On Mass Media’. Therefore, we ask the Constitutional Court to point the attention of state authorities to these contradictions in the legislation and propose the competent authorities to abolish the contradictions, and thereby cease the harassment of journalists,” noted the BAJ media lawyer Aleh Aheyeu.
The unabridged text of the appeal in Russian can be found under the link.