The UN Human Rights Committee has registered a complaint by Kanstantsin Zhukouski, a freelance journalist in Homieĺ, who was fined for covering a protest in the Belarusian town of Svetlahorsk in November 2014.
The Belarusian government is asked to explain why shooting a video, which was later aired on the Polish-based Belsat satellite TV channel, was viewed as illegal picketing.
In his complaint, Kanstantsin Zhukouski asked to find a violation of his right to gather and disseminate information (freedom of expression). He also asked to recommend the Government of Belarus to change the national law on mass events, so that its application did not lead to a breach of the right to gather and disseminate information.
The journalist was fined for covering a picket staged by Yury Lyashenka, a disabled activist, who protested against violations of the rights of people with disabilities. Svetlahorsk district authorities banned the protest, but the wheelchair user came to the town’s central square with a poster “Down with the Chaos in Law”. Kanstantsin Zhukouski filmed the event, for which he was later fined by the court.
A week ago, Zhlobin district court punished Zhukouski with a fine of 80 basic units for working without accreditation. It is the fourth fine that has been imposed on the joirnalist for the first two months.
He was accused of manufacturing media products without accreditation under Part 2 of Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Offences. Zlobin police filed 2 protocols on the freelancer for 2 stories aired on Belsat under the title: “BMP without work and money” and “Sad farm creates parasites.” The Homiel journalist noted that these videos have their authors, and he personally did not broadcast them.
Human Rights Organization “Amnesty International” in its report on human rights violations in Belarus, included Zhukouski an example of the prosecution of free media.
Belsat.eu, following spring96.org