The police have come to the Belsat TV office near the Academy of Sciences metro station in Minsk. They have a warrant from the prosecutor’s office.
— Belsat in English (@Belsat_Eng) March 31, 2017
Belsat TV computers seized (ENG video)
Journalist Alyaksandr Lyubyanchuk was in another Belsat office, when it was raided by the police.
10:23 Equipment seized from the Belsat office – journalist Ales Zaleuski reports.
Стрым з-пад другога офісу "Белсату" у Менску. Там усё яшчэ міліцыянты
Publié par «Белсат» sur vendredi 31 mars 2017
Belsat journalist tried to enter the office at 9:20. At that time there was already a policeman at the entrance, who said that “investigative activities” were taking place in the office. At that point, there could be at least two of our colleagues in the office. It is not known, if the police officers opened the door or if they broke in.
10:31 Aleksy Dzikawicki, Head of Information Programming department, believes the searches have to do with the active online and website coverage of the protests against the Decree #3 and the crack down on the Freedom Day marches.
“It angered the authorities, because we still have this lever and opportunity to show “TV picture” not just cover the events online. Now authorities are trying to restrict information about the protests. We saw the first symptoms of this in the first half of March, when they began to detain our journalists. “Belsat” is ready for such actions. Our channel will broadcast news go no matter what,” said Dzikawicki.
10:43 A formal reason for the searches has become known. The Minsk police says that the law enforcers is investigating into the ‘illegal use of the trade mark’
Police officers’ activities resulted in establishing a scope of persons illegally using the trade mark, they say. According to them, audio and video equipment was seized to perform necessary procedural actions.
10:50 The police have taken out all the equipment and even a banner with the inscription ‘Belsat’. They are also looking through our journalists’ papers and notes.
Стрым з-пад другога офісу "Белсату". Напэўна будуць забіраць тэхніку і тут. На першым офісе ўжо ўсё забралі. УПД: Аператара «Белсату» Алеся Любянчука затрымалі і вязуць у Першамайскі РУУС. Тэхніку забралі 🙁
Publié par «Белсат» sur vendredi 31 mars 2017
12:00 The police are at our office near Kastrychnitskaya metro station. It is not known what is going on in the room. The policemen claim an investigative experiment is being carried out.
“Now we see that selective measures are being taken against Belsat TV. I think them to be sort of retaliation for Belsat TV,” Barys Haretski, press secretary of the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
12.2o The police are seizing equipment from our office not far from Kastrychnitskaya metro station and taking it to a minibus without number plates. They are also filming all the journalists that have arrived at the scene.
12.25 Belsat TV journalist Alyaksandr Lyubyanchuk has been detained. He is being driven to Pershamayski district dolice department in Minsk.
“It is obvious that the main objective of today’s searches is to paralyze our work. By confiscating computers they want to make things more complicated for journalists,” Alyaksei Minchonak, Belsat TV official representative in Belarus, says.
The officers at Pershamayski district department say Lyubyanchuk is not being kept there.
In September 2014, the Supreme Court of Belarus retried the case BelsatPlus vs Belsat TV. Although plaintiff Andrey Belyakou failed to show any new evidence, the verdict passed was against us. The judges forbade Belsat TV to use its name and trade mark in Belarus.
Andrey Belyakou, the owner of company BELSATplus, accused television Belsat TV of illegal using its trade mark and wanted the court to ban us from it. It is hardly possible to put the prohibition on using Belsat TV logo into practice in the territory of Belarus because it is registered in Poland and the EU. According to the channel’s director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, the lawsuit against Belsat TV is politically motivated, and the verdict to ban the TV station from using the trade mark is another proof of the government’s keeping control over the case.
Our TV channel and its domain name were registered in Poland. As we do not broadcast from the territory of Belarus the trade mark does not fall within its jurisdiction. Furthermore, the channel is registered as Belsat TV; the registration name of the unitary enterprise is BELSATplus (certificate No 190991566).
Mr Belyakou’s company sells satellite and cable TV equipment. In conformity with the law, one cannot block a trade mark unless it is used in the field given, i.e. broadcasting and production of TV programs). BELSATplus has not been engaged in the activities mentioned.