Loyeu district court has dismissed the administrative case against Homiel-based freelance journalist Kastus Zhukouski.
The journalist was not present at the trial which took place on Wednesday.
The case was initiated after Zhukouski had contributed to making a news item televised by Belsat TV on June 14. He was accused of illegal production and distribution of media products, i.e. for work without accreditation.
The news item reveals the story of Ivan Khvoin, a resident of Staradubka village (Homiel region). Referring to the danger of swine fever spreading, local authorities ordered to kill his pigs without paying any compensation.
Kastus Zhukouski has hit a record in receiving penalties for working without accreditation in Belarus. Over the last three years, he has been fined 17 times; the total sum reached $6,000.
Belsat TV which has been broadcasting for nine years, has been denied accreditation for its journalists during these very nine years. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly declared that it could not issue any accreditation to Belsat because the journalists working for the TV station … break the law.
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, which provides punishment for ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’. If you have accreditation, you are allowed be a journalist. If you do not have it – you are outlawed.
Since the beginning of the year, a dozen protocols have been drawn upon Kastus Zhukouski.