On March 17, the judge of the Mazyr district court Natallia Asadchaya fined the Homel freelancer Kastus Zhukouski for 35 basic amounts (7 million 350 thousand rubles) according to article 22.9 of the CoAV.
The journalist was summoned to court by an SMS. His car broke down and he warned the court secretary that he won't manage to come; the trial was held in asbentia.
It has been the six admnistrative case against Kastus Zhukouski this year. The article under consideration was the report "Mazyr: the distilling factory goes bankrupt" shown on Belsat on February 9. The freelancer is said to have produced the report illegally - because the channel Belsat is not accredited by the Belarusian Foreign Affairs Ministry. We remind that one of the arguments of BAJ lawyers is that the Law on Mass Media defines that mass media products are produced by a mass medium, whereas journalist carries out activities on gathering, editing information. So, the article is wrongly applied against natural persons, whereas it can only apply to legal entities which represent mass media. The second argument is that any Belarusian citizen has the right to gather and disseminate information, the right is guaranteed by art. 34 of the Belarusian Constitution.
The chart on administrative fines imposed on Belarusian freelancers according to art. 22.9 shows that Kastus Zhukouski is the leader here; the journalist is convinced that this is purposeful persecution intended to prevent him from work.