$500 fine imposed on freelance journalist in Homiel

Belsat TV contributor Yauhen Merkis has been BYN 920 fined (nearly $500) on Wednesday.

He was tried over two cases of the so-called ‘illegal production of media products’. In particular, Merkis covered a ‘non-parasite’ rally in Pinsk and interviewed MP Ihar Marzalyuk during the protests in Mahiliou.

The hearing started at 12:00 in Soviet district court of Homel.

On March 23, Homiel court fined Yauhen Merkis for ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’, i.e. for covering the march of ‘non-parasites’ in Rahachou. He livestreamed protest rallies in Vitsebsk and Homiel as well.

Although Belsat TV is located in Poland, many journalists and contributors work in Belarus. As the Belarusian Foreign Ministery has repeatedly denied registration to the TV station for political reasons, its contributors are at the authorities’ gunpoint for working without it.

In February-March, there has been an eruption of protesting the so-called ‘parasite’ law in Belarus. Hundreds of Belarusians were detained, fined, jailed after recent non-parasite marches. Most of them were accused of violating the order of holding mass events and disobedience to police officers’ demands. It should be noted that plainclothes policemen who refuse to show their IDs a or introduce themselves often beat people and prevented journalists from performing their professional duties.


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