Belarusian authorities take revenge on Belsat staff

Belsat journalists are so often penalized by the authorities, that they simply don’t have time to appear in court.

Kastus Zhukouski is one of many Belsat journalists that are constantly subject to this kind of pressure. While he kept receiving subpoenas, his colleagues Lyubou Luniova and Zmitser Krauchuk were being held responsible for their August story about the closure of school 210 in Minsk.

“Belsat” crew was asked to attend the heated debate between the district educational department and the angry parents. The Court found the journalists guilty of working without accreditation and fined them 690 BYN each.

Every court of Minsk has already heard a case or more of Belsat journalists.

All of them a tried under the same article of the Administrative Code: illegal production of media and working without accreditation. Our colleague Larysa Shchyrakova is expected in court for covering the visit of the Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich in Kapatkevichi high school. On Friday, journalist Zmitser Lupach will be tried in Hlubokaye for cooperation with “Belsat”.

The number of current penalties is already eleven times higher than last year’s ‘achievements’ of the Belarusian authorities. If we consider the amount of fines for all the years of the channel’s existence, the money would equal yearly salaries of five and a half of Belarusian law enforcement officers. Nevertheless, the credibility of “Belsat” is only growing.

Tens of thousands of dollars of fines should be added to the countless arrests of journalists, more than a hundred days in prison, offices and apartments subject to searches. And, obviously, not to lose the ability to try our colleagues, “Belsat” has been denied accreditation and permission to open an office in Belarus four times.

Usevalad Shlykau, “Belsat”

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