International groups call on EU to push for media rights in Belarus
Belarus: International media and press freedom organisations, including Index on Censorship have issued a report calling for far reaching reforms of the media in Belarus.
16 Oct 09

International media and press freedom organisations including Index on Censorship have issued a report calling for far reaching reforms of the media in Belarus.

Entitled For Free and Fair Media in Belarus, it was published and presented to the Swedish EU Presidency in Stockholm on 16 October. The report provides an overview of the current media situation and conclusions drawn from meetings with state and non-state media and the Belarus authorities to discuss press freedom and the media situation.

“A thin veneer of limited and symbolic reforms in recent months cannot conceal the fact that Belarus continues to operate a highly repressive media environment,” said IFJ European Co-Director Marc Gruber, who led an investigation mission team to Belarus between 20 and 24 September, which included Index on Censorship.

This report calls for a set of reforms dealing in particular with economic conditions for non-state media, access to information, accreditation of media and journalists as well as broadcasting licensing. The joint initiative is intended to ensure that media freedoms remain top of the agenda at the ongoing EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue.

The organisations that contributed to the report include: Article 19, Civil Rights Defenders, Danish Union of Journalists, Index on Censorship, International/European Federation of Journalists, International Publishers’ Association, International Pen, International Press Institute, Open Society Institute, PressNow, Reporters Sans Frontieres, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, and International Media Support (IMS).

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
Index on Censorship’s September 2009 commentary on free expression in Belarus.

By Rohan Jayasekera

Rohan Jayasekera is a journalist, editor and online free expression advocate, tracking human rights, digital media, cultures of change and the conflict zeitgeist.