YouTube: Belarusian authorities declared war on bloggers

Bloggers Alyaksandr Kabanau and Syarhei Pyatrukhin have been fined 40 basic units or 980 BYN. The Pinsk district court punished them for “illegal production and distribution of media materials.”

“The judge recognized the Youtube channel as mass media. This is nonsense! I do not know what will happen next with this judge, as the precedents have already been set in Homiel. The Ministry of Information gave a clear answer that it is not a media outlet,” said Mr Pyatrukhin.

It was the case of the well-known blogger, a ‘non-parasite’ Maksim Filipovich.

This time, the reason for the fine was this video. Worker of the Pinsk-based ‘Exide’ battery plant refused to let the bloggers who oppose the construction of a similar facility in Brest meet with the authorities.

However, Belarusian legislation clearly indicates that the creation of video for own blog is not equivalent to the production of media materials.

The trial in Pinsk is another case of persecution of videobloggers.

There were checks in the case of several bloggers suspected of ‘insulting the president’. Among them were the creator of the YouTube channel “Somebody» (NEXTA) Stsyapan Svyatlou, also against the creator of the movie “The Stepfather”, blogger Pavel Spiryn. Their videos have received hundreds of thousands views.

But the popular blogger Sviatlana Bahdanava, known as Danuta the Lie was not fined. But they tried to intimidate her.

“Of course, we appreciate the attention. It means that our activities regarding the ‘iPower’ plant are successful, and we will continue — in spite of fines or anything else,” sums up Syarhei Pyatrukhin.

Alyaksandr Papko, “Belsat”, photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters / Forum

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