Belarus takes the 157th place of 180 in this year’s Press Freedom Index, the ranking which is annually worked out by human rights organisation Reporters Without Borders to spotlight the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. In 2013 our country held the same position. The authors of the Index also mention the problems our channel often encounters.
‘In Belarus, independent journalists continue to fight on unequal terms against “Europe’s last dictatorship” and its propaganda. Those who cover street protests are routinely detained. The KGB and the judicial authorities often use “combatting extremism” as a pretext for silencing those who refuse to toe the official line,’ the document stresses.
‘A book containing the winning photos of the 2011 Belarus Press Photo competition was banned in 2013 and one of the leading independent publishing houses [Lohvinau Publishing House – Belsat] was stripped of its licence. The magazine Arche and independent media based abroad such as Belsat TV are subjected to all sorts of administrative harassment,’ its authors say.
Finland, the Netherlands and Norway still make the top three while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Erithrea are at the bottom of the list.
Belarus’s neighbours are ranked in the following way: Poland lies in the 19th place, Lithuania – in the 32nd, Lithuania – 37th, Ukraine – 127th, Russia – 148th.
It is to be recalled that in March, 2013 Belsat TV made its third attempt to get a formal accreditation and filed all the necessary documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But in vain: the Ministry’s officers refused to register its correspondent office in Minsk referring to Belsat contributors’ alleged law violations. As our journalists and contributors have to perform their professional duties without any accreditation they repeatedly draw fire from public officers.