Belarus confirmed its status as Europe’s most dangerous country for journalists, Reporters Withoud Borders said on December 10, Human Rights Day.
“Around 370 [media workers] have been arrested since 9 August just for doing their job and eight are still being held. As the data gathered by RSF and its local partner, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), shows, the police deliberately use violence against reporters covering demonstrations with the clear aim of gagging the media and making the protests ‘disappear’,” the statement reads.
Of nearly 370 arrests of journalists between 9 August and 30 November, around 80 have resulted in a prison sentence. At least 62 journalists have been victims of violence, mistreatment or even torture while detained,
After nearly 450 press freedom violations registered in Belarus in the past four months, RSF recommends 15 ways to end an unprecedented crackdown on the media in a European country, addressing Lukashenka regime, European institutions and EU member states, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the United Nations.
Among other things, RSF demands the Belarusian authorities provide journalists and media with a safe and hospitable environment; guarantee the safety of all journalists and refrain from any persecution linked to their work or any form of obstruction, including seizing and damaging their equipment; prosecute persons accused of press freedom violations in accordance with international standards.
At the moment, three Belarusian journalists who faced criminal charges are behind bars: Darya Chultsova, Katsyaryna Andreyeva, Katsyaryna Barysevich. On November 24, Belarusian human rights watchdogs recognised them as political prisoners.
It is an open secret that messages from outside give enourmous support and encouragement to a prisoner; that is why we urge our readers to send letters to the jailed journalists:
Кацярына Андрэева (Бахвалава): 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava): Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus
Дарʼя Чульцова: 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Darya Chultsova: Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus
Кацярына Барысевіч: Беларусь, 220030 г. Менск, вул. Валадарскага, д. 2. СІЗА № 1 / Katsyaryna Barysevich: Detention facility Nr 1, Valadarski Street 2, Minsk, 220030 Belarus
Don’t forget to enclose an empty envelope so that the girls could respond to your letter. Thank you for your unindifference!
belsat.eu, following rsf.org