The Brest authorities continue persecuting Belsat TV contributors Milana Kharytonava and Ales Lyauchuk. Dzmitry Shuryn, a judge at Leninski district court, has imposed a fine of 2,550 rubles (appr. $1,250) on the journalistic duo.
The journalists were tried for their coverage of November’s protest rally against the construction of a battery factory in Brest. Local police officers saw Lyauchuk and Kharytonava working in Lenin Square; As the city authorities do not authorize protests, people do not make speeches or chant any slogans – they just feed pigeons or carry baloons. As a result, a protocol under Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code (illegalproduction and distribution of media products) were drawn on them.
The trial took place on January 9, but the journalists decided against appearing in court.
According to Ales Lyauchuk, the regime keeps slapping heavy fines to to bar them from performing their professional duties. „But they do not have any chance, as the truth is on our side,” he stressed.
Because of the work in the ‘partisan’ conditions, Belsat employees are often on trial for illegal production of media materials (Article 22.9) and work without accreditation.
Thus, the circle closes: journalists are denied accreditation because they break the law and they break the law, because they work without accreditation that they seek. And it explains the existence of absurdist Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code. If you have accreditation, you are allowed be a journalist. If you do not have it – you are outlawed.