The book about the persecution of journalists in Belarus was published in Polish in August last year. It has now been translated into English with the help of the Canadian and British embassies.
Thirty-one Polish journalists wrote the book about 20 of their colleagues from Belarus who are persecuted by the regime. Among them are also Belsat journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova. The proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Belarus Information Office in Focus, which helps repressed journalists. They need money for legal aid, equipment (which is often confiscated by the police), or a safe corner when they have to flee from persecution.
“Now a pilot edition of the book has been published in English. This is supposed to facilitate the search for a publisher in the West,” stresses Arleta Bojke, the originator and coordinator of the project. In her opinion, although the repressions in Belarus are now in the background due to the events in Ukraine, the interest in the whole region is growing, even in the West.
“We have to explain that the situation in Belarus and Ukraine are two elements of the same puzzle, which is called Russian imperialism. And in turn, Russian imperialism threatens the security not only of Belarus, not only of Ukraine but of the whole Europe and the whole world,” she says.
During the presentation of the book, Political Counsellor of the Canadian Embassy Jeanette Sautner emphasized that the support for the publication of the English version of the book shows the importance Ottawa attaches to freedom of speech. She noted that freedom of expression is a cornerstone of a democratic society.
“The lack of this freedom causes a situation like we have today in Belarus. Now, more than before, we must protect journalists and support free exchange of information”, she added.
She also admitted that the situation of civil society in this country is very bad. She could see it in January when she visited Belarus.
“While earlier there was an active civil society sector there, sometimes working in difficult conditions, in January I could only meet with one NGO representative and one journalist,” she added.
She noted that the meetings took place only at their request because they were able to assess the risks and possible consequences of such a meeting for them.
Polish journalists prepared the book pro bono publico. The organizers are sharing the costs of its publication with the Adam Marszałek publishing house, which gave up its profits.