OSCE Representative denounces search of Belsat TV editorial office in Belarus


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Opublikowany przez «Белсат» Wtorek, 9 kwietnia 2019

Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, has denounced the search conducted on 9 April in the editorial office of the Belsat TV channel in Minsk.

He called on the Belarusian authorities to exercise restraint in bringing libel charges against media and journalists, and reiterated his call on the authorities to decriminalize defamation.

“I am alarmed by the search at the Belsat editorial office in Minsk and the seizure of data and notebooks from the journalists,” Désir said. “This obstructs the work of the independent media, and raises concerns about the protection of the journalists’ confidential sources. The media published a correction after a mistake in publication. It is crucial that public officials refrain from bringing criminal charges against journalists, and I call on the authorities to decriminalize defamation in line with international standards,” the statement reads.

On April 9, employees of the Investigative Committee of Belarus several conducted a rigorous search of the Belsat TV office in Minsk. As a result of the raid, all the computers and data storage devices were seized on grounds of carrying out a probe into a criminal case under Art. 188-2 (‘libel’) launched by the Prosecutor’s Office.

The case is related to the Belsat TV news story about the corruption schemes in the state procurement of medical equipment. Due to a technical error, a draft version of the story was published on the website. It should be noted that the channel refuted the information and offered apologies to General Andrey Shved who felt hurt over the mistake. The Investigative Committee ran a check and found no grounds for criminal prosecution is not found. However, in January 2018, the Prosecutor’s Office of Minsk launched a criminal case over the same situation.

‘We consider seizing computers as repressive measure’. Statement over raid on Belsat TV office

belsat.eu, following osce.org

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