BAJ tagged posts

Statement of BAJ against Administrative Prosecution of Journalists

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Statement of the public associtaion Belarusian Association of Journalists concerning prosecution of journalists for contribution to foreign mass media without accreditation

Belarusian Association of Journalists declares it unlawful to prosecute reporters whose names and materials appear in foreign mass media. Pressure on these journalists bears clear characteristics of threat and blackmailing, and contradicts to national legislative norms as well as to obligations of the Republic of Belarus to ensure freedom of information under international agreements.

On September 25, the Babruysk district court fined Maryna Malchanava, a journalist of the non-state newpaper Bobruyskij Courier, for 32 basic amounts (4 800 000 rubles). She was found guilty of violating p. 2 of art. 22...

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Analytic report “Belarus: Time for Media Reform”

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On February 6, an analytic report on media situation in Belarus was presented at the office of the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

On February 8 it turns five years since the Law on Mass Media has come into legal force. The law enforcement practice shows all its drawbacks that impact negatively free speech and media sphere in Belarus.

The analytical report, presented by Andrei Aliaksandrau (Index on Censorship) and Andrei Bastunets (BAJ), provides an overview of media landscape in Belarus, estimates the law enforcement practice regarding journalists, and provides recommendations on how to improve the situation so that to ensure rights and freedoms of the media and free expression...

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Belarus remains at bottom of Eastern Partnership media freedom list

Belarus has again been ranked last among the six Eastern Partnership participating countries in a media freedom index compiled by Ukraine`s Internews with the support of the European Union, Andrey Bastunets, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), told reporters in Minsk on Monday.

Moldova is at the top of the list and is followed by Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Belarus, Mr. Bastunets said.

Internews updates the index every quarter by interviewing 10 media experts in each of the six countries. The experts identify three positive and three negative developments in the country under review, among other things.

The report focuses on media freedom regulations, their enforcement, and the state of television, radio and online media outlets.

The Belarus...

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Publisher Deprived of License for Publishing Belarus Press Photo 2011

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The private entrepreneur Lohvinau was informed on September 23 that his license for publishing activities had been withdrawn.

The document was signed by Liliya Ananich, deputy of the Minister of Information. The license was withdrawn because of “rough violations of the legislation on licensing”. The matter deals with publishing of the Belarus press Photo 2011 photo album which had been recognized extremist by the Ashmiany court on April 18, 2013.

“We think that the license had been suspended unlawfully, with many violations, so we have already sent a letter to the Minister of Information Aleh Praliaskouski,” said a representative of the publishing company.

According to Andrei Bastunets, the deputy chair and lawyer of BAJ, the law does not entitle the Minister of Information to taki...

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Journalist Andrzej Poczobut’s suspended sentence is terminated

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On September 23 the Leninski district court of Hrodna reviewed the criminal case of the journalist Andrei Poczobut and threw out the sentence.

On July 5, 2011 Andrei Poczobut was found guilty of violating article 367, part 1 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to three years in jail with two years’ deferment. The period of deferment ended on September 20, reports press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

“Surely I am pleased now that I can travel freely abroad and don’t need to register regularly at the police. Meantime, I still consider the sentence absolutely unlawful,” the journalist told in an interview to the press-service of BAJ. “Now I need to make a visa and I am going to visit the editorial office of Gazeta Wyborcza in Warsaw.”

According to t...

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Administration of Colony No 2 See No Reason to Abolish Penalties Imposed on Ales Bialiatski

The administration of the colony thinks that human rights defender Ales Bialiatski “had repeatedly violated the order of serving the sentence” and all penalties were issued to him “strictly in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedures”.

The administration of the correctional colony No 2 in Babruisk replied to BAJ’s address sent on August 4. August 4 is the day when Ales Bialiatski was arrested in 2011; it’s been two years that he stays in prison for human rights activities. He was sentence to four and a half years’ imprisonment in high-security jail. However, the regime is stricter than it can be – for insignificant reasons...

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Belarusian Association of Journalists addresses head of penal colony No. 2 in Babruisk

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Members of the journalist organization state that according to the recent information, received from the correctional facility, groundless penalties were issued to human rights defender Ales Bialiatski who is serving his term there.

In particular, the colony administration deprived him of the meeting with his wife which was to have taken place in July. Moreover, he wasn’t allowed to receive a food parcel.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists considers it as pressurization of the human rights defender, connected to his civil position, not with the violations which were allegedly committed by him.

That’s why the organization asks to abolish the imposed penalties and allow Ales Bialiatski to meet with his wife Natallia Pinchuk as soon as possible.

Moreover, on 4 August, the International...

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Independant journalist Alena Stsiapanava to stand trial for work without accreditation

Alena Stsiapanava, member of Belarusian association of journaliste (BAJ) from Vitebsk, is accused of work for foreign mass media without accreditation.

On July 9 the journalist came to the Kastrychnitski district police department of Vitebsk, together with her lawyer, where she was shown an administrative protocol against her, complied by the senior inspector of protecting law and order and crime prevention Siarhei Viaraksa.

The police accuse the journalist of contributing to the foreign mass media Radio Svaboda without accreditation, a violation according to article 22.9 of the Administrative Code.

The case materials provide such evidence as, for instance: policemen saw how I attended trials over activists and wrote down something in my notepad,” said Alena Stsiapanava. “Or someone...

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Dzmitry Zavadsky : Missing for 13 years

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Dzmitry Zavadski worked in the press-pool of Alexandre Lukashenka from 1994 up to 1997. In 1997 Dzmitry went to work with the Public Russian TV ORT.

In the spring of 1997 he was arrested together with another journalist of Russian TV channel ORT Pavel Sheremet for the report about transparency of Belarusian-Lithuanian border, and got a year and a half of suspended sentence.

From October of 1999 until May of 2000 he was working in Chechnya, where together with Pavel Sheremet was shooting a film Chechnya’s Diary.

Upon the disappearance, a criminal murder case was started, and later reclassified into abduction.

Starting from October 24, 2001 four people (V. Ihnatovich, M. Malik, A. Huz and S. Savushkin) were on a closed trial for the abduction of Dzmitry Zavadsky...

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Chronicle of court time: a film about political prisoners in Belarus

The series of short films Chronicle of Court Time consists of eight stories dedicated to members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists who have suffered for their belief in freedom of speech. These individuals include the authors of various publications and sights like Ales Bialiatski, Dmitry Bondarenko, Sergey Voznyak, Andrey Pochobut, Natalya Radina, Pavel Severinets, Anton Suryapin, and Irina Khalip. Some of these authors are forced to work under a written pledge not to leave the country, some have left the country, and some are serving sentences in prison.

Oleg Dashkevich, the author of the project, explained that “Many authors worked on this project. Our goal was to move away from a dry, information-based interpretation of their fates...

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