An administrative case against the freelance journalist Alina Skrebunova was first heard on 5 September in Mahiliou and on 7 September she received a verdict — a fine of 20 basic units.
The woman was accused of “participating in the creation of media materials” under part 2 of the article 22.9.
The next hearing was scheduled for 14:30 on September 7. One witness refused to give testimony saying she did not remember, if Skrebunova had interviewed her. The second witness did not show up.
The case is about the story which aired on Saturday July 15th about the charity event in the Mahiliou Society for Animal Welfare.
According to the journalist, at the second hearing, one of the witnesses explained how she and another woman gave their testimony to the police. the process was flawed and had a lot of violations.
Alina Skrebunova said in court that the police had no proof of her engagement with Belsat. Despite this, she was fined.
The journalist will appeal the verdict.
The police and witnesses have no complaints against the contents of the story. The basis for the case was the fact that the story appeared on the “Belsat” page. Allegedly, the freelancer had no right to do it for the TV channel without accreditation as a journalist of the foreign mass media outlet. It was this very story that she did not do — it was published on the website under a different name.
Human rights activist Barys Bukhel claims that individuals cannot be tried under this article, because it is a violation of the law, only media outlets can be held responsible here as legal entities. Moreover, there is no article punishing for participation in the creation of media materials as in the case of Skrebunova. There is only one for ‘creation’. Human rights activists say these things violate the rights of citizens to gather and disseminate information, guaranteed by Article 34 of the Constitution and international treaties.