On May 18, Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanovskaya published a statement regarding today’s raids on TUTBY Media offices and searches ofs its employees’ places.
“Today we are all witnessing the deliberate ‘murder’ of media and the independent portal TUT.by. For 20 years, it has been committed to reporting honest news to Belarusians and is an example of an independent press. Many feared that this would happen, but it is a different feeling when you witness the successive destruction of freedom. A group of people who hold power in Belarus is the real occupation regime: they kill media, kill political parties and civic communities, and kill us – on the streets and in prisons,” the statement reads.
According to the politician, her team is staying is in touch with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
“We call for an urgent EU response, an urgent launch of a support program for independent media, protection of journalists, and help them continue work despite the repressions. We insist that sanctions should be imposed on all those responsible for the repressions against Belarusian editors, journalists, and bloggers,” Tsikhanouskaya stressed.
On Tuesday morning, Belarusian security officers have descended upon the offices of tut.by and hoster.by, as well as to editors’ and journalists’ places. According to the information provided by the Belarusian authorities, a criminal case has been launched against TUTBY Media company officials under Part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code (‘large-scale tax evasion’); a number of employees, including editor-in-chief Maryna Zolatava, director Lyudmila Chekina, chief accountant Anzhela Asad have been detained. The domain of the portal has been blocked by the authorities.