The website and social networks of Belsat have been declared extremist by a Homiel Court on July 27. The decision was based on the inspection conducted by the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Homiel region. The materials have not been specified.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Volha Chamadanava has reported on the decision to recognize Belsat as an extremist organization in Telegram.
“The purpose of such actions of the authorities is to clean up the information field in Belarus and to complicate as much as possible the distribution of uncensored information. The decision is, of course, absurd. Neither Belsat nor other independent media are extremists. We will keep on working and will provide our viewers and readers with information in Belarusian and without censorship,” says Deputy Director of Belsat Alyaksei Dzikavitski.
Chemadanava has reminded that spreading (reposting) information from “extremist sources” entails administrative responsibility with punishment in the form of a fine or arrest. Remember, you can still read Belsat. Subscribing to our channel’s social networks is not a violation of the law.
The national list of extremist materials published by the Ministry of Information of Belarus does not yet include Belsat materials.
The July purge of civil society has also affected the journalists of Belsat. Among our colleagues who found themselves behind bars was Iharr Ilyash, a correspondent and political observer whose wife Katsyaryna Andreyeva has been behind bars since November 2020. Ihar was released on July 26. The journalist does not know what exactly he is suspected of, but he is sure that the repression of the press and civil society will continue.
The authorities started to block the state-censored content in Belarus last fall. First, they blocked the telegram channels. In the last few months, they blocked the largest media outlets like TUT.by, Nasha Niva, Euroradio, Radio Liberty, and many other regional resources.