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

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Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) are brought by powerful and wealthy entities against public watchdogs in an effort to compel them to withhold or remove critical coverage, even if it is accurate and in the public interest. When SLAPPs successfully drive information out of the public domain, they can make it difficult to hold [...]

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