Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makiej and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, discussed the functioning of Belarusian media outlets in Russia and Russian media outlets in Belarus during their meeting in Minsk on Thursday.
“I spoke once again to my colleague, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makiej,” Mr. Lavrov told reporters after the meeting. “We have a common understanding of the need to do everything to ensure that Russian media outlets in Belarus and Belarusian media outlets in Russia work in the most comfortable conditions. We have some ideas that we will start to implement soon.”
On October 5, the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda announced that it had decided to close down its Belarus publication following the blocking of its website and the arrest of its journalist Hienadź Mažejka.
Mr. Mažejka is the author of an interview with a former classmate of Andrej Zieĺcer, a Minsk man who was killed by officers of the Committee for State Security (KGB) during a raid on his apartment on September 28.
Mr. Zieĺcer, a 31-year-old IT worker, is believed to have fatally wounded a KGB officer before being shot dead inside his apartment.
In the interview, which was posted on the night of September 28, a woman who went to school together with Mr. Zieĺcer described him as a good person who “always stood up for truth.”
On the morning of September 29, the Belarusian information ministry blocked access to kp.by, the website of the Belarus version of Komsomolskaya Pravda.
The move angered the Kremlin, which described it as a violation of media freedom. Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson later said that Mr. Mažejka’s arrest “cannot be approved of” if it was related to his journalistic work.
Mr. Mažejka has been charged with inciting hatred and insulting an official under the Criminal Code’s Articles 130 and 369, respectively.
On October 13, the Partyzanski District Court in Minsk rejected an appeal against Mr. Mažejka’s detention, which means that the journalist will stay behind bars until at least December 1.