Belarus keeps punishing independent journalists for alleged “illegal production and distribution of media products.” Recently, a Minsk court ruled to exact penalties from five independent journalists. All of them are freelancers cooperating with our TV channel.
They are being punished for covering the topics, which cannot be found in the state media. Journalist Lyubou Lunyova and cameraman Syarzhuk Krauchuk had to pay huge fines for filming the “Dzyady” procession 40 basic units.
Syarzhuk Krauchuk, cameraman:
“This is a very significant sum for me.”
Distribution of finished materials is always a matter of the Warsaw-based newsroom of our TV channel, but …
“We are tried for producing the finished media product (in this case made by Belsat) and even spreading it,” said Krauchuk.
This year more than 100 journalists who cooperate with foreign media were fined in Belarus. The total amount of fines is close to 100 thousan BYN. A lot of court hearings take place in December, when police and officials need to fulfill the annual plan.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists believes that through the courts, the state tries to curb the rise in influence of online media to …
“Exert a maximum control on what is shown on the Internet. To be able to block the media, to know who left a particular comment. So that journalists had a higher degree of self-censorship, knowing that any violation could lead to the page being blocked,” explains Barys Haretski from the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
In the next two years there will be held parliamentary and presidential election campaigns. The issue of influencing the society is paramount.
On the Internet, the views race was won by independent media. Materials on TUT.by, BelaPAN and TV channel “Belsat”, “Belarusian Radio Racyja” and others. Journalists of all these media outlets this year were prosecuted.
If you are a journalist or blogger, and you have been detained, you should also remind the police of article 198 of the Penal Code of Belarus, which criminalizes the obstruction of journalistic activities.
Yulia Tsyalpuk, belsat.eu