Savetski district court of Minsk found Lyubou Luniova and Zmitser Krauchuk guilty of violating the law on media (production and distribution of media products) and fined the journalists.
Each of them will have to pay 920 Belarusian rubles to the state budget.
“There was no evidence. They did not present any screenshots or video files – the trial was based bu on the testimony of witnessing policemen. We are goingappeal the verdict to Minsk City court,” Krauchuk told belsat.eu.
The reason for drawing administrative protocols on Krauchuk and Luniova was their contribution to the news story about the trials of protesters in Minsk – they were filming near Savetski district court. But the irony of it is that the story was not aired on Belsat TV.
“It means there was no ‘distribution of media products’,” Krauchuk stresses.
In early October, Lyubou Luniova and Zmitser Krauchuk held responsible for their August story about the closure of school 210 in Minsk. A fine of BYN 690 was imposed on each.
Since the beginning of the year, Belsat TV contributors have paid about $14,000 of fines to the state budget. According to Reporters Without Borders, it is our journalists who are harassed by Belarusian government agencies most.
Belsat TV which has been broadcasting for nearly ten 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.