Freelance journalist Kastus Zhukouski received two administrative protocols for ‘working without accreditation’ in the mail.
One of them was drawn up by Major Uladzimir Paulovich of Kalinkavichy district police department. The other was sent by Major Alyaksandr Marozau (Karma district police department).
“I am a self-employed entrepreneur. When I was registering, I noted that my activity is journalism. I keep within the law, I have the opportunity to send news materials to whom I want to – it is not prohibited by law ,” Zhukouski told Belsat.eu.
According to the freelance journalist, the police officers violate his right to work and want to take away his means of livelihood. Moreover, they lie, Zhukouski states:
“I told the policeman [Paulovich] on the phone that i am a self-employed entrepreneur and work as a journalist, but he put down that I do not work!”
In spite of another wave of persecution, Zhukouski is not going to quit freelance journalism.
Belsat TV which has been broadcasting for eight years, has been denied accreditation for its journalists during these very eight years. Its recent request was turned down in March, 2015. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry declared that it could not issue any accreditation to Belsat TV because the journalists working for it … break the law. The document lists the names of nine persons who received warnings of the Belarusian prosecutor’s office over this case.
So 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.