Music portal Tuzin.fm will no longer cover any event held by Minsk-based club Re:Public as its managers showed disrespect to independent journalists.
The conflict took place on November, 11 during the concert of musical band Nizkiz. Its organizer Vital Supranovich invited independent journalists Syarhei Budkin and Yauhen Shapchyts to the event. The reporters were going to film a story about the band for Belsat TV. Having talked to the musicians in the dressing room, the journalists continued filming in the hall. And Andrey Startsau, the director of Re:Public, demanded to turn off the camera and hide the microphone with Belsat TV logo.
Andrey Startsau and organizer Vital Supranovich refused to give any official explanation. In a private conversation, the Re: Public director told Syarhei Budkin that the channel, which is not accredited in Belarus, is not allowed to enter his ‘premises’.
“I’ve known Andrey Startsau for long. I believe that this ban did not come directly from him, but from some third party. However, I am just speculating,” Budkin told belsat.eu.
Expressing solidarity with Belsat TV, tuzin.fm has decided not to cover any events of the club due to its directorship’s stance and actions against independent journalists.
The channel which has been broadcasting for seven years, has been denied accreditation for its journalists during these very seven 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.