Journalist fined for report about police’s battering elderly man

Hlybokaye district court fined freelance journalist Zmitser Lupach for ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’, i.e. work without accreditation.

Our contributor will have to pay BYN 857.5 to the state budget.

Lupach covered the story of 80-year-old Iosif Vyshadka, a resident of Hlybokaye district, whom local police officers threw into the car In broad day-light. The police broke the pensioner’s leg and imposed a heavy fine (BYN 1,225) on him. In late April, Belsat TV aired a news story about the victim of police abuse.

It is the ninth time Zmitser Lupach has been tried for the past two years.

Because of the work in the ‘partisan’ conditions, Belsat employees are often on trial for illegal production of media materials (Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code) and work without accreditation. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, last year, 94% of fines for alleged illegal manufacturing of media materials fell on our journalists.

The sad truth is the independent journalists’ cases is a revenue source for the state budget: in 2017, the total amount of fines for their contribution to Belsat TV reached BYN 52,693; for the first five months of 2018, it has already exceeded BYN 41,000.

The OSCE and Reporters Without Borders have recently condemned the persecution of Belarusian journalists.

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