Covert facility in Belarus style: Ideologist prevents Belsat TV crew from filming at Brest museum

Vadzim Lyaukovich (L), an ideologist from Brest, who prevents jousnalists from performing their professional duties.

Vadzim Lyaukovich, an ideologist working for Brest regional executive committee, has forbidden the local museum staff to give an interview to Belsat TV journalists.

The channel’s crew was covering the close-out of the project ‘Fashion Thursday in Museum’; the footage filmed was to be used in Belsat TV news and culture programming.

“As long as the project was in progress ( it lasted six months), we reported from the series of events and interviewed the staff many times; no one was bothered. But this time the organizers declined to comment,” journalist Ales Lyauchuk says. “When we were alone, they told us that ideologist Vadzim Lyaukovich barred all the employees from granting interviews to Belsat. “I’m sorry, I think it’s a stupid thing, but we were ordered not to give you any comment,” one of them told us.”

A bit later, Vadzim Lyaukovich, the head of the ideological department of on cooperation with mass media, approached the crew and demanded to show any accreditation documents.

“I advised him to learn the law. This is the first attempt they have made to exert pressure on us since the latest presidential election. I believe this situation to be unsound: the public servant whose salary is paid from Belarusian taxpayers’ money give orders to people saying who may grant interviews and who may not,” Lyauchuk stressed.

Against all the odds, the crew managed to make a news which is to be televised today. However, it does not contain any official comment.

Independent journalist Ales Lyauchuk was repeatedly persecuted for cooperation with Belsat TV. The first trial took place in December, 2014. The hearing was held with numerous violations. Judge Larisa Nazaranka found the reporter guilty and imposed Br 6 mln fine on him. In March 2015, judge Raman Karaban fined Lyauchuk for contribution to Belsat TV (nearly Br 4 mln). In July, 2015 Leninski district court in Brest imposed the maximum penalty (9,000,000 rubles).on the reporter for ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’ (Part 2 of Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code).

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