Journalist Katsyaryna Andreyeva got two administrative protocols in the mail.
The protocols were drawn upon her by Minsk police for livestreaming a protest rally on 3 July and the Airborne Forces Day celebration on July 29. The journalist is accused of violating the law on mass media (Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code), i.e. contributing to Belsat TV without having the Foreign Ministry accreditation.
Interestingly, the protocol reads that Andreyeva allegedly made a news item for the Belsat TV show Naviny (News), although the channel has never produced or aired such a program. Moreover, the reporter was only streaming the event.
“In response to these protocols and charges on cooperating with foreign media without accreditation, I would like to ask the government: why Belsat TV journalists, and me in particular, have to work under such conditions? Maybe because accreditation is formally issued by the Foreign Ministry, иге in fact every candidate should pass sort of loyalty check by security agencies? In this case, I am proud of not having accreditation,” Katsyaryna Andreyeva told Belsat TV.
The two protocols may be used in court to impose a heavy fine (nearly $2,000) on the journalist. The date of her trial is not yet known.
It is not the first time the journalist has been persecuted for her professional activities. On March 12, she was arrested in Vorsha after a ‘non-parasite’ march and spent the night in jail. The next day, the Vorsha city court fined her 30 basic units for “disobeying the police” and “violating the law on mass media”.
Turn English subtitles on: Belsat TV journalists being detained live
In early May, a Minsk court fined Katsyaryna Andreyeva BYN 1,035 for “violation of media law” (Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code).
Belsat TV which has been broadcasting for nine years, has been denied accreditation for its journalists during these very nine years. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly declared that it could not issue any accreditation to Belsat because the journalists working for the TV station … break the law.
Thus, the circle closes: journalists are denied accreditation because they break the law and they break the law, because they work without accreditation that they seek… And it explains the existence of absurdist Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code, which provides punishment for ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’. If you have accreditation, you are allowed be a journalist. If you do not have it – you are outlawed.