Yet again Belsat TV journalist Volha Czajczyc has been charged with violation of mass media law (Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code).
Our colleague contributed to the news story about protests against urban densification in the barrier-free area for the visually impaired in Minsk.
“I will appear before court, but I will use it as an opportunity to draw people’s attention to the problem in Yakubouski Street,” Czajczyc said.
It is the fourth time in 2018 that Czajczyc will stand trial for contributing to Belsat TV.
Moreover, on March 7, Andrus Kozel will have to appear before court for allegedly disobeying to the police (Art. 23.4). As reported earlier, Andrus Kozel was severely beaten by police while observing the election process at one of Minsk polling stations. The policemen broke the glass in the door to the polling station with Andrus’ head when they were detaining him.
In 2017, freelance journalists Volha Czajczyc and Andrus Kozel paid 8,556 Belarusian rubles to the state budget. The crew was repeatedly fined for contribution to Belsat TV.
According to Reporters Without Borders, it is our journalists who are harassed by Belarusian government agencies most. In 2017, Belsat TV journalists paid over $ 14,000 of fines. 94% of fines for the so-called illegal production of media products fell on Belsat TV contributors, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) reported.
Belsat TV which has been broadcasting over ten years, has been repeatedly denied accreditation for its journalists in Belarus. The Foreign Ministry has 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.