Independent journalists under more pressure from authorities


The new head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared new measures. Now the administrative prosecution of protesters is replaced with criminal one.

The people detained during the Sunday march were accused with organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order. The list of suspects so far has 231 people. Including two of our colleagues. A Belsat cameraman Dzmitry Krauchuk, who was suspected of criminal activity, was kept in jail for a day and later released with a fine.

Several journalists were detained during the March Against Terror in Minsk. Three correspondents of the Novy Chas newspaper, Dzmitry Dmitryeu, Alyaksandr Zenkovich and Yana Trusila, as well as Belsat journalists Dzmitry Soltan, Artsiom Bahuslauski and Dzmitry Krauchuk.

An employee of the Russian TASS agency was immediately released. Our colleague Dzmitry Krauchuk managed to inform his relatives that he was being held in the police station. Later it was reported that Dzmitry is also on the list of suspects under Article 342 of the Criminal Code.

According to the Investigative Committee, the detainees allegedly did not obey the authorities, damaged the city infrastructure and the security forces’ car. All detainees – and there are 231 of them – are suspects in a criminal case on organizing actions that violate public order.

“Now we will be looking for good lawyers for our colleagues. Secondly, we will actively inform the entire international community about this situation. This is a very dangerous precedent. If it really happens, it means that in Belarus we have all the signs of a totalitarian regime,” says Alyaksei Dzikavitski, deputy director of Belsat.

On Monday, after another fifteen days of arrest, Belsat cameraman Ales Lyubianchuk was finally released.

Also on Monday, the trial of journalist Alina Skrabunova took place in Mahiliou. Judge Viktoryia Palyakova sentenced her to a fine for reporting to Belsat about the trials of protesters. Previously, Palyakova fined cameraman Alyaksandr Sidareuski for the same story. The Belarusian Association of Journalists has recorded strong pressure on independent media and journalists before. But after the August 9 elections, the statistics of attacks broke all records.

Ihar Stankevich, Belsat