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Over 150 media representatives sign open letter to Belarus authorities: "Stop the witch-hunt!"

10.05.2021 Source: BAJ Press Service

STOP THE WITCH HUNT!

Statement of the media sector representatives addressed to the Belarusian authorities

On May 3, the civilized world celebrated the World Press Freedom Day. And the next day, May 4, the Ministry of Information of Belarus issued an official warning to the regional newspaper Intex-Press (Baranavichy) — for publishing an interview with Sviatlana Tikhanouskaya. At the same time, "Belpochta" refused to include the newspaper in the subscription catalog, and "Belsayuzdruk" — to sell it through its kiosks.

For months, the Belarusian authorities have been discriminating against independent newspaper Narodnaya Volya. Recently Narodnaya Volya has made another attempt to break the blockade and sign a contract for printing in any state-owned or private press. All for naught — all answers were in the negative.

BelGazeta, Svobodnye Novosti Plus, Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus , Novy Chas, Hazeta Slonimskaya, and Brestskaya Gazeta had problems with printing and distribution.

Most of them have suspended their paper copies and only run their websites. But even there the freedom of expression is severely restricted. TUT.BY has been deprived of an "online media" status. The authorities used to block access to the majority of independent news websites, they continue to persecute bloggers, administrators of YouTube- and Telegram-channels and local chat groups, and people who leave comments in social networks.

The pressure on journalists has only increased. There were almost 500 detentions and 100 arrests last year alone! Every day journalists are persecuted for doing their jobs. Today, 11 journalists are behind bars. Three of them — Katsiaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava), Daria Chultsova, and Katsiaryna Barysevich have already been sentenced to imprisonment merely for doing usual journalism.

Alarming is the situation with media legislation which is deteriorating rapidly. The government seek to make journalism a service trade. State-owned media are increasingly using strong hate speech, accusing people who can not defend themselves of all crimes possible, spreading false propaganda, under the guise of news, and that includes pro-Russian propaganda (at the expense of public funds of Belarus), are in fact "media hit squads".

We, representatives of the media sector, urge the government to stop the "witch hunt." The right to express one's opinion is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and in numerous international documents signed by our state.

We demand:

- stop the criminal prosecution of journalists, release from prison all members of the media and other citizens who are imprisoned for performing their professional duties or for expressing their opinions;

- return the independent news media in printing and distribution networks;

- restore access to the websites of independent media;

- stop unjustified interference by the state bodies in the activity of mass media and administrative pressure on journalists and media.

 

Andrei Bastunets, chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Iosif Siaredzich, Belarusian journalist, chief editor and publisher of Narodnaya Volya newspaper.

Uladzimir Yanukevich, Intex-Press chief editor

Mikalai Kazlovich,          Chief Editor of Onliner.by

Barys Haretski, Deputy chair of the Belarussian Association of Journalists.

Valery Ruselik, journalist, blogger

Yanina Melnikava, chief editor of Greenbelarus.info

Aliaksei Dzikavitski, Deputy Director of Belsat TV

Aliaksei Shota, chief editor of Hrodna.life

Irina Krylovich, editor of belrynok.by

Alina Skrabunova, freelance journalist

Nastassia Rouda, editor, director of marketing and advertising department of Nasha Niva

Tatsiana Niadbai, writer, human rights activist, cultural and media projects manager

Mikola Kananovich, chief editor of Hazeta Slonimskaya

Yahor Martsinovich, chief editor of Nasha Niva

Siarhei Skulavets,  Belsat journalist

Zhanna Nohina, journalist, BAJ  member

Iryna Leushyna, director, chief editor of BelaPAN

Viktar Marchuk, Chief Editor of Brestskaya Gazeta

Andrei Mialeshka, journalist, member of BAJ

Artsiom Harbatsevich, deputy chief editor of Nasha Niva

Alena Yakzhyk, editor of gazetaby.com

Yulia Matuzava, Euroradio journalist

Ryna Slaunikava, representative of Belsat TV channel in Belarus

Anton Surapin, member of the BAJ Board

Andrei Aleksandrovich, editor-in-chief of the Belorusy I Rynok newspaper

Siarhei Satsuk, chief editor of EJ.by

Aliaksander Ulitsionak, founder and editor-in-chief of the SNplus newspaper. Svobodnye Novosti Plus

Anna Jakshtas, Editor-in-Chief of Strong News

Piotr Kuzniatsou, founder of "Strong News - Homel.Today" and Mogilev.Online

Aleh Aheyeu, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Snezhana Pahodzina, Strong News journalist

Tatsiana Piskur, Deputy Director of Brestskaya Gazeta

Aksana Palazhenets, editor of the media resource DeafSportBelarus

Aksana Kolb, editor-in-chief of Novy Chas newspaper

Volha Khvoin, head of the information service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, editor

Sviatlana Kalinkina, Editor-in-Chief of BelarusPartisan

Diana Seradziuk, journalist of Novy Chas newspaper

Volha Neviadomskaya, editor of Vitebsk Courier News

Tatsiana Smotkina, freelance journalist, member of the BAJ Council

Dzmitry Dzmitryeu, photo correspondent of the Novy Chas newspaper

Valiantsina Veshtart, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, journalist

Alena Prykhodzka, Radio Unet journalist

Dzmitry Yahorau, Belsat, journalist

Andrei Buka, web editor of Krynica.info

Siarhei Pulsha, Deputy Editor of Novy Chas newspaper

Anna Kruchkova, journalist, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Iryna Kuptsevich, journalist of Reform.by

Aliaksandr Ziankou, freelance journalist

Maryna Zolatava, editor-in-chief of TUT.BY.

George Stankevich, poet, teacher

Anatol Sanatsenka, editor-in-chief of the Bobruisk Courier, writer

Henadz Sharypkin, journalist of "Belarusy I Rynok"

Kiryll Zhyvalovich, Editor-in-Chief of BelGazeta

Alina Koushyk, editor, Belsat

Volha Shparaha, philosopher

Kastus Shytal, blogger, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Kastus Lashkevich, journalist, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Eugenia Dolhaya, reform.by journalist

Alena Naskovich, head of the Luninets branch of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Siarhei Vahanau, journalism “old-timer”, member of the BAJ Ethics Commission

Dzmitry Padbiarezsky, Deputy Editor-in-chief of Art Magazine

Nadzeya Belakhvostik, Editor-in-chief of MediaIQ

Fiodar Pauliuchenka, editor-in-chief of Reform.by

Natalia Belikava, Project Manager, Press Club Journalism Workshop

Tamara Zenina, Solidarity journalist

Vitaut Rudnik, Chairman of the Board of Third Sector Center

Natalia Pravalinskaya, editor-in-chief of dev.by.

Ihar Ilyash, journalist, Belsat

Ina Dobratvor, teacher, freelance journalist

Mikalai Maminau, documentary filmmaker. Photographer of international news agencies

Maryna Kharevich, BelaPAN journalist

Taras Tarnalitski, editor of av.by projects, freelancer with budzma.by

Katsiaryna Siniuk, Imena platform ("Imena Media"), founder, journalist

Alexander Kornyshau, co-owner of Vitebsk Courier news

Uladzimir Kryuchenia, journalist of natatnik.by, member of BAJ

Aliaksander Mantsevich, Rehiyanalnaya Hazeta, editor-in-chief

Hanna Azemsha, editor, Belsat

Zoya Khrutskaya, Deputy editor of the Rehiyanalnaya Hazeta

Natalia Makushyna, journalist

Dzmitry Salavyou, Editor-in-Chief of "Mahiliou Region" (6tv.by)

Mikola Bianko, journalist, chairman of the Homel branch of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Volha Yermalayeva-Franko, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists

Angela Espinosa Ruiz, poet, teacher, publicist

Mila Poliak, founder of EX-PRESS.BY

Aleh Supruniuk, editor of 1reg.by

Stanislau Korshunau, journalist of TUT.BY.

Aleksander Klaskouski, head of analytical projects of BelaPAN

Alena Shabunia, freelance journalist

Iryna Novik, editor of Hrodna.life special projects

Zmitser Kazakevich, freelance journalist

Andrei Liankevich, photojournalist

Siarhei Hrudnitski, Interfax-West columnist

Piotr Huzaeuski, editor-in-chief of Hantsavitski Chas newspaper

Yulia Katarzynskaya, Manager, Member of the BAJ Board

Alexander Koktysh, freelance journalist

Sviatlana Stankevich, journalist of Reform.by

Alesia Vazhnik, BelaPAN

Hleb Liapeika, journalist of Mediazone.Belarus

Katsiaryna Karpitskaya, journalist

Maksim Berazinski, Tribuna.com

Maria Kalesnikova, editor of the European Radio for Belarus

Yauhen Kazartsau, Euroradio journalist

Iryna Vidanava, member of the BAJ Board, co-founder of CityDog.by

Anastasia Rubanava, editor of novychas.by

Yury Plotkin, editor-in-chief of the portal "Masheka" (masheka.by)

Halina Ulasik, editor of TUT.BY.

Alena Sadouskaya, editor, journalist

Ludmila Kotchyk, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Brestskaya Gazeta

Aliaksei Kairis, member of BAJ, journalist, historian

Aksana Yarashonak, journalist of Rehiyanalnaya Hazeta, Maladechna

Artsiom Sizintsau, freelance journalist

Alexander Liushkevich, Deputy editor-in-chief of the Belarusy I Rynok newspaper

Katsiaryna Hardzeyeva, photojournalist

Daria Spevak, Onliner journalist

Sviatlana Tsishko, editor-in-chief of kraj.by.

Pauliuk Bykouski, journalist

Valery Sliapukhin, a civil activist

Ksenia Halubovich, director, photographer

Anastasia Zakharevich, freelance journalist

Maria Rode, correspondent of Arte TV channel (Germany-France)

Tatsiana Harhalyk, freelance journalist

Vialeta Sauchyts, photojournalist of BelaPAN

Yulia Hunashvili, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of BelGazeta

Marat Haravy, journalist of Novy Chas newspaper

Dzianis Burkouski, journalist of TUT.BY.

Alla Burkouskaya, TUT.BY.

Yauhen Merkis, freelance journalist

Alena Spasiuk, journalist of BelaPAN, Naviny.by

Andrei Vyshynski, Editor-in-Chief of Inform-Progulka

Larysa Malakhava, journalist of the "IMENA" platform

Irena Katselovich, journalist of Nasha Niva and Belsat

Iryna Kozlik, journalist

Siarhei Zianko, journalist

Alexander Velitchenka, freelance journalist ("GreenBelarus", "Novy Chas")

Yauhen Sukhaver, freelance journalist, author of the "Racing Psychopathy" blog

Andrei Kukharchyk, editor of the "Virtual Brest" site

Aliaksei Khudanau, Media IQ journalist

Anastasia Zanko, editor of the Onliner.by department

Larysa Shchyrakova, freelance journalist

Vadzim Vezhnavets, Editor-in-Chief of Radio Ranak

Viktar Yarashuk, freelancer

Maksim Sarychau, photographer, SHKLO platform

Volha Shavela, journalist of the newspaper Belarusy I Rynok

Siarhei Zenko, journalist

Andrei Shantarovich, freelancer

Yulia Vauchok, freelance journalist, producer of media and cultural projects

Henadz Kesner, member of the BAJ Council

Liudmila Hmialeuskaia, writer, journalist, member of BAJ

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