Larysa Shchyrakova, freelance reporter and deputy chair of the local Homel branch of BAJ, filed a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee regarding violation of her rights to gather and disseminate information. The information came from BAJ lawyer Leanid Sudalenka who will represent the reporter further in the case.
On January 13 the judge of the Homel district court Aliaksandr Lisouski imposed a fine on Larysa Shcyrakova for cooperation with the satellite TV Belsat based in Poland. The reporter made a report about problems of residents of village Urytskaye, Homel district. On April 15, the judge of the Central district court of Homel Aliaksandr Piskunou fined her and her colleague Kastus Zhukouski for a report about refugees made in the local office of the Red Cross.
“In Belarus, I have used all levels of judicial defense, and all with no result,” said Larysa Shcyrakova. I also filed a supervisory complaint to the Prosecutor General, all in vain. It turns out that Belsat cases have no defense in the country. I resorted to the only possible legal remedy at the international level.”
Leanid Sudalenka remarked that Larysa Shcyrakova’s case revealed several contradictions between the national law and international treaties to which Belarus is a party.
“The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees each person the right to gather and disseminate information. Our national law on the media in fact restricts the very essence of the right. I am sure that the case will end up with establishing the violation of the journalist’s right,” he added.
For more information see Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Violations
Related: Freelance Journalist Complains to UN Human Rights Committee