Journalist Maryna Mauchanava is being persecuted for ‘producing and distributing’ her articles.
According to Belarusian law enforcers, the independent journalist has violated Article 22.9 of the Belarusian Administrative Code (illegal production and distribution of media products). A fine up to Blr 7.5 mln (appr. $720) might be imposed on her. In fact, the Belarusian authorities are trying to bring journalists to justice for cooperating with foreign media without possessing any accreditation.
On August, 29, Maryna Mauchanava received a summons from the Babruysk police, according to which he was obliged to appear as a person charged with violation of the media legislation.
On September, 1 the journalist came to a police station in the town of Babruysk, where she was questioned by police Lieutenant Colonel Siarhei Rudzko. ‘He is majoring in political cases in Babruysk. All local human rights defenders, political activists fall into his hands,’ Marina Mauchanava told Belsat TV. Mr Rudzko showed an intense interest in her article ‘Club-5000’ dwelling upon activists’ asistance to cancer centres. It was also published by belsat.eu.
A similar invitation was received by Yauhen Skrabets, a Brest-based reporter of the Belarusian Radio Racyja.
It is not the first time that the Belarusian regime has made an attempt to retaliate against freelance jourmnalists who are not given any official permission to perform their professional duties in the country: three journalists in Hrodna region have been fined this year. Referring to the incident, Dunja Mijatovic, Representative of the OSCE Office on Freedom of the Media, expressed concern with harassment of journalists and called on the Belarusian authorities not to create artificial obstacles to the activities of the press.