Belarus: Press freedom violations July 2019
06 Aug 2019

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.

2 Incidents

Ministry spokeswoman obscenely answers journalist’s request for comment

Zmitser Pankavets

15 July 2019 – The independent newspaper Nasha Niva appealed to Zinaida Biareshchanka, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, to comment on the fact that Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ihar Brylo posted a picture on Instagram in which he posed in a t-shirt that read “Russia” while at the Barysau enterprise Zdravushka. The media drew attention to this case and the official closed his account.

In the first conversation with journalist Zmitser Pankavets, Biareshchanka promised to talk to Ihar Brylo, and during the second conversation her mood changed significantly. She refused in an obscene form to answer the questions saying: “Look, stop politicising where it is not necessary to do it. Stop putting in the heads of society that should not be put in.”

The next day, the spokesperson apologised to the journalist for her ‘emotionality’ through Facebook.


Categories: Blocked Access, Offline Defamation/Discredit/Harassment/Verbal Abuse

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Belsat TV crew detained

9 July 2019 – The police detained Belsat TV journalist Ihar Kuley and camerapersons Syarhei Kavaliou and Maksim Harchanok who were filming an episode of the program Belsat Near You in the local market of the Brest region town of Hantsavichy. The police officers told them to go to the police station claiming that they were not allowed to film and forced them to turn off their cameras. After the police investigated, the journalists were released. 


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation, Blocked Access

Source of violation: Police/State Agency

Project Exile: Turkish journalist still fearful in Germany

Turkish journalist Zübeyde Sari began her career in 2009. By 2018, following President Erdogan’s crack down on the media, she was forced to flee.

Index on Censorship, Reporters Without Borders UK and Transparency International UK urge Azerbaijan to lift journalist’s travel ban

Azerbaijan authorities should lift a travel ban against award-winning investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, UK-based rights groups urged on 15 January.

Urgent reforms needed to protect journalists from vexatious legal threats: Index on Censorship

The UK should make it harder for powerful individuals and companies to bring libel actions or use other vexatious legal threats designed to stifle investigative journalism, Index on Censorship said on Friday.

Index calls on Arron Banks to drop SLAPP lawsuit against Carole Cadwalladr

We, the undersigned organisations, welcome today’s judgment on meaning in the case of Arron Banks vs Carole Cadwalladr. The judgment clarified the context of the comments that form the basis of this lawsuit, and noted that aspects of the claimant’s argument were “far-fetched and divorced from the specific context in which those words were used”. […]

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