Journalists leaving Belarus amid crackdown on independent media

Journalist Vital Tsyhankou in Kyiv. Photo

Two more prominent journalists have left Belarus because of security risks. For example, Vital Tsyhankov wrote on Facebook that he had postponed the decision until the last moment:

“I did not want to leave. I sincerely wrote in my posts that “every morning when I wake up at 9-10 a.m. I am happy to think that today they did not come (at least in the morning, when they usually come), and I will most likely spend this day free. But I stayed until the last one – both for social (“who else but me”) and personal, family reasons.”

According to him, the reason for his departure was not a personal warning or threat, but the general situation with journalists in the country:

“I don’t know what percentage you can estimate the likelihood of my detention, but obviously, regardless of my actions, that percentage has increased dramatically in recent weeks. I could reassure myself that I hadn’t done anything that I could be ‘arrested’ for. I never, even in August-September, put photos of the actions on my social networks (because I suspected how it would end) – but none of that matters. Now they take first – then they decide what to put up. So it’s not the kind of lottery that you want to play – “will they come, will they not. All the more I spent a day there, in the Gestapo, on August 12, and kneeling in the fetal position on the rocks, as well as bruises and a slight traumatic brain injury – that was enough for a personal and not theoretical, understanding of what kind of people are there.”

Vitaly Tsyhankou also said that he continues to work for Radio Liberty and is planning a new season of Talk on Belsat:

“I will remain myself, I will continue. From any geographic location. The mission is not over yet.”

Journalist Zmitser Lukashuk. Photo: Lukashuk

Editor of Euroradio and one of the authors of the book “extremist” book “Belarusian Idea,” Dzmitry Lukashuk has also temporarily left Belarus, reports Radio Liberty.

Lukashuk said he would leave for Warsaw for some time amid searches in the offices of non-state media and detentions of heads and journalists of media outlets across the country. He said that the hardest thing was to say goodbye to his daughter Miraslava.

“We will see each other. This country is ours. But I will never forgive them my child’s tears,” Dzmitry Lukashuk wrote on Facebook.

Earlier, part of TUT.BY team left Belarus. Last week journalists presented a new project, which is worked on from abroad. Also, some staff members of Belsat, Euroradio, and Nasha Niva left Belarus.

According to the latest information of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, there are 31 journalists in custody in Belarus. Some of them are witnesses in criminal cases. Also, bloggers are reporting on the socio-political situation in Belarus, behind bars, or outside of Belarus.

belsat. eu