MEDIA FREEDOM
Belarus: Press freedom violations June 2019
04 Jul 2019
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project tracks press freedom violations in five countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Learn more.

5 Incidents

Journalists barred from covering roundtable on drug problem

Zmitser Kazakevich and Viachaslau Lazarau

Zmitser Kazakevich and Viachaslau Lazarau

26 June 2019 – Vitsebsk independent journalists Zmitser Kazakevich and Viachaslau Lazarau were not allowed to cover a roundtable discussion between education officials and the parents of individuals convicted of drug offenses.

The journalists were told they could not be present at the event because they were not listed as invitees. Officials turned down a request from the organisers that the press be allowed to attend.

 Link: https://baj.by/be/content/vicebskih-zhurnalistau-ne-puscili-na-krugly-stol-pa-prableme-narkotykau

Category: Blocked Access

Source(s) of violation: State Agency

Journalists banned from visiting Brest regional government

12 June 2019 – Media professionals were barred from attending a meeting between Anatol Lis, head of the Brest regional government, and environmental protestors. Three independent journalists had been included in a list of meeting participants.  Audio recording and photographing during the meeting were banned.

Link: https://charter97.link/ru/news/2019/6/13/337549/

Category: Blocked Access

Source(s) of violation: State Agency

Independent media workers blocked from attending press conference

11 June 2019 – Management of a controversial battery plant I-Power blocked some independent media representatives and bloggers from attending a press conference. The Brest factory has drawn protests from area residents concerned about its environmental impacts.  

Link: https://baj.by/be/content/zhurnalistau-ne-puscili-na-sustrechu-starshyni-bresckaga-ablvykankama-z-praciunikami

Category: Blocked Access

Source(s) of violation: Company

Independent newspaper’s journalist prevented from entering new court building

7 June 2019 – A Brestskaya Gazeta journalist was told she could not enter a new court building after its inauguration citing the lack of accreditation.

Link(s): https://www.b-g.by/news/otkryitie-doma-pravosudiya-v-breste-nachalos-s-torzhestva-spravedlivosti-korrespondenta-bg-vnutr-ne-pustili/

Category: Blocked Access

Source(s) of violation: Public Official

Brest blogger Piatrukhin detained while broadcasting online

2 June 2019 – Blogger Siarhei Piatrukhin was pushed into a car by men in camouflage on the corner of Mayakovski and Savietskaya Streets and taken to the Leninski district police department. The incident happened while he was conducting a live broadcast from a protest march against construction of a battery plant near Brest.

At the police station, a report was filed against Piatrukhin for disorderly conduct and he was jailed pending a trial.

On 3 June 2019, Piatrukhin was brought from the prison to the Leninski district court of Brest. There a judge postponed the hearing until 10 June 2019 and released him.

Update:

10 June 2019 – A judge in the Leninski district court of Brest fined Siarhei Piatrukhin Br765 (about $370) for disorderly conduct (Article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences).

The reason for the ruling was the alleged insult of the deputy head of Leninski district police department of Brest Mikalai Samasiuk. At the trial, Samasiuk explained that the blogger asked Samasiuk, who was on duty at the time, to accept a complaint against an administrative offense “in importunate manner”. Samasiuk considered such behavior of Piatrukhin as unacceptable and called the riot police.

Links:

https://charter97.link/en/news/2019/6/3/336370/

https://charter97.link/en/news/2019/6/4/336484/

https://charter97.link/en/news/2019/6/11/337333/

Category: Detention, Blocked Access, Fines

Source(s) of violation: Police, Court

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