The Justice Ministry has started monitoring the activities of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), the non-state media organisation said on its website on Monday.
According to the BAJ, in the official letter, the ministry demands the organisation present thousands of papers (e.g. membership lists, minutes of all meetings of elected bodies, all incoming and outgoing messages during this period, all financial records, etc) dated since January 1, 2018.
The letter dated June 9 arrived only on June 21. The ministry expects BAJ documents to arrive by 23 June.
“We have been acting according to the letter of law in all our activities since the creation of BAJ 25 years ago. However, the requirement to provide a huge list of documents in just 2 days is unrealistic. At the very least, because some of the requested documents are still kept by the Investigation Committee, after the search in the BAJ office on 16 February. Therefore, the BAJ filed a complaint with the Minister of Justice asking for a reasonable time for presenting the paperwork,” the statement reads.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists unites over 1,300 journalists, editors, photographers, and publishers. It is a member of the International and European Federations of Journalists. For many years BAJ has been helping journalists to defend their professional rights, and monitoring the situation in the field of media in Belarus.