For over five years, Press Club Belarus, an Associate Member of the International Association of Press Clubs (IAPC) since 2016, has contributed to the Belarusian media community's development, promoted journalistic standards, and acted as a discussion platform. We have organised dozens of lectures and masterclasses with world-renowned experts and facilitated numerous initiatives to develop quality journalism in Belarus.
On December 22nd, the authorities unexpectedly levelled tax evasion allegations against the Club, detained a number of our colleagues and searched their offices and homes.
Our work has always been guided by principles of transparency, impartiality, solidarity and open dialogue. We consistently worked to strengthen the media community and build effective communication between business, officialdom, civil society, media organisations and other stakeholders, always showing solidarity with journalists and media who have come under pressure for their professional activities.
Our reputation over the last five years has been impeccable. We regard the trust placed in us by our partners, colleagues, and friends as priceless.
Yulia Slutskaya, Sergey Olshevsky, Alla Sharko, Sergey Yakupov, and Petr Slutsky are principled, creative, dedicated professionals committed to first-class standards of journalism and building an independent media sector. They are creators, not destroyers, in love with their work, and with Belarus.
Today our colleagues are behind bars. Lawyers are taking all possible steps to ensure their immediate release. We are convinced that the arrest of the Press Club members was a mistake, and trust that an impartial enquiry into all the facts will result in the release of our colleagues and dismissal of the criminal file. However, this presumes that the investigation continues to act within the legal framework rather than degenerating into politically motivated persecution.
We are grateful to all those who expressed support for the Press Club and our detained colleagues, who are likely to celebrate New Year in a prison cell.
Well-wishers can send them a letter or a postcard to the address below enclosing an empty envelope and a stamp (if you are in Belarus): СИЗО-1, улица Володарского, 2, Минск, 220030.
Юлия Витальевна Слуцкая / Yulia Vitalievna Slutskaya
Сергей Сергеевич Ольшевский / Sergey Sergeyevich Olshevsky
Алла Вячеславовна Шарко / Alla Vyacheslavovna Sharko
Сергей Сергеевич Якупов / Sergey Sergeyevich Yakupov
Пётр Александрович Слуцкий / Peter Alexandrovich Slutsky
Alternatively, you can do so via online services: письмо.бел.
Our strength is in solidarity!
The Press Club continues operations and remains committed to its principles. We now have an additional goal – the release of our colleagues.
The Press Club Belarus Team