Journalists remain a target of the Belarusian regime’s brutal attacks, opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya said during Monday’s videoconference organised by the Permanent Representation of Poland to the European Union in Brussels.
The meeting was attended by the ambassadors of EU member states, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, representatives of the European Commission, and Belsat TV Director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Poland is eager to draw attention to the situation of journalists in Belarus, Ambassador Andrzej Sadoś said.
Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya highlighted that there could be no democracy without the freedom of the media, Polskie Radio reports.
“Vests with the inscription ‘Press’ do not protect anymore, they even make journalists the target of attacks. I will always say that journalism is not a crime. Еo provide the public with objective information, Belarusian journalists do risk every day. Thanks to courageous Belarusian journalists, the world knows the truth about what is happening in the country. Belarusian journalists are true heroes of our time,” she said.
Ambassador Andrzej Sados opens our event held on #InternationalWomensDay and dedicated to the repressions against female journalists in #Belarus.#EU27, 🇨🇦🇬🇧🇺🇸 & @EU_Commission representatives are discussing the situation on the ground with @Belsat_TV reporters and @ARomasze. pic.twitter.com/G6fiXMXzOy
— Poland in the EU (@PLPermRepEU) March 8, 2021
She also made mention of the recent politically motivated trials of Belarusian media workers: Belsat TV contributors Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova were sentenced to two years of imprisonment for the live coverage of a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters; TUT.BY journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich who reported the truth about activist Raman Bandarenka’s death got a six-months jail term. The opposition politician remembered the story told by one of the journalists who described her ‘ordinary’ working day during protest times:
“It is 10 am. As usual, I put on two pairs of leggings and two pairs of socks. In addition, I put another pair of socks, underwear and a toothbrush into my bag. I know my lawyer’s phone number by heart, but I keep refreshing it in my memory all the time, just in case. Every journalist must be prepared for being arrested at any moment.”
In 2020, there were 480 cases of detaining journalists in Belarus, Tsikhanouskaya recalled.