Closing down news site or facing criminal case: Mahiliou journalists placed in dilemma

The officers of the Main Department for Combatting Organised Crime and Corruption (notorious GUBOPiK/GUBAZiK) set two choices before Zmitser Salauyou, the editor-in-chief of non-state media outlet

Zmitser Salauyou. Photo:

They demanded the work of the news resource be stopped; in the contrary case, he would be prosecuted under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (‘organisation of actions that grossly violate public order’), they warned.

On July 14, the editorial office of was raided. The security officers confiscated their equipment, and the editor-in-chief Zmitser Salauyou was summoned to the 11th department of GUBAZiK. The officers strongly suggested Salauyou close down the website. According to them, a criminal case would be initiated against him in case of his refusal; some of is colleagues were threatened with criminal prosecution for ‘inciting social hatred’ over their making and posting videos about the work of the Belarusian police on

On the back of the interrogation, part of the video content was removed, in particular, The Summons Show a joint project of and human rights centre Viasna, in which Mahiliou-based human rights activists participated. Some broadcasts by journalist Alyaksandr Burakou are also unavailable now.

Crushing non-state media in Belarus 2.0

Taking the threats into account, part of editorial office left Belarus, including the editor-in-chief; they are not going to terminate the portal’s work.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), 63 searches have been carried out in the editorial offices and apartments of Belarusian journalists over the past ten days.

On July 16, siloviki came for a number of Belarusian media workers contributing to Belsat TV and RFE/RL, a week earlier – for Nasha Niva employees.

Eight media workers who have been detained in July remain behind bars:

  • Yahor Martsinovich, Nasha Niva editor-in-chief;
  • Andrey Skurko, head of advertising and marketing department (Nasha Niva);
  • Andrey Dynko, editorial director (Nasha Niva)
  • Ihar Ilyash, investigative journalist (Belsat)
  • Aleh Hruzdzilovich, journalist (Radio Svaboda)
  • Inessa Studzinskaya, former journalist of Radio Svaboda
  • Ales Dashchynski, journalist (Radio Svaboda)
  • Hanna Halyota, journalist (Belsat)

Belarusian security forces launch large-scale raid on Belsat TV contributors