persecutions of journalists 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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Blogger’s Son Sentenced to Three Years’ Freedom Restriction and a Huge Fine

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On July 18, the Court of Babruisk completed the trial of Aliaksei Zhalnou, son of a local blogger Aleh Zhalnou.

Judge Yuliya Beraziuk sentenced the 25-year old man to three years in an open penal colony. Aliaksei Zhalnou will also have to pay a fine of 50 million rubles in damages (around $5000). The plaintiff, a road policeman Aliaksandr Butouski, asked to recover from Zhalnou 100 million rubles, and the prosecutor demanded four years in a penal colony as a punishment for the blogger’s son. Aliaksei Zhalnou has ten days to appeal the verdict.

An aggravating factor in the case of Aliaksei Zhalnou could be his previous conviction. The young man said that it was because of this fact in his biography that he was targeted by the traffic police in order to avenge his father...

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Belsat journalist fined for work

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Ales’ Zaleuski, author and anchorman of several programs on Belsat TV, was fined by local court for 30 basic amounts under charges “unlawful production and dissemination of mass media products”.

On May 27 an administrative case was heard in the Karelichy district court (Hrodna region). Ales’ Zaleuski was summoned to court on May 19. He petitioned to adjourn the hearing in order to get familiarized with case materials. It should be mentioned that the process went along with a number of procedural violations: the journalist had not seen the administrative report before the invitation to court, he had not received an official summons, but only was invited by phone, and this happened only a day before the first hearing.

He was found guilty of violating administrative article 22...

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Belsat TV Wins Lawsuit on the Use of Trademark

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The Judges’ Panel of the Supreme Court of Belarus dismissed the suit of the private company Belsat + against the satellite television Belsat.

The Court decided that plaintiff Andrei Beliakou, head of the private company Belsat +, failed to prove his exclusive rights for the trademark “Belsat” in the territory of Belarus. The decision has come into legal force and cannot be appealed in a cassational court, only in exercise of supervisory powers.

We remind that the legal action was started by Andrei Beliakou in November, 2013: the director of the Belsat+ company, specializing in selling satellite and cable TV equipment, claimed that the satellite channel Belsat TV used the trade mark “Belsat” unlawfully...

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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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Belarusian journalist Iryna Khalip finally freed

Press release of Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders is pleased to learn that the Belarusian authorities have finally lifted the restrictions on journalist Irina Khalip’s movements that had been in place for more than two and a half years.

A court in the Minsk district of Partyzanski ruled on 19 July that Khalip, a correspondent of the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had satisfied the conditions of the two-year probation period imposed on when she was given a two-year suspended jail sentence on 16 May 2011.

“The regime has made a small concession to freedom of information,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But the court violated judicial procedures by refusing to tell journalists when the hearing would be held in order to prevent them attending...

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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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“Teddy bear drop” case closed

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First Deputy Head of the KGB Ihar Syarheenka has informed this to the journalists on Friday. Still, he refused to comment on the results of the investigation or the destiny of the people mentioned in the case, informs interfax.by.

Euroradio reminds, on July 4, 2012 a light-motor civil plane with two Swedish pilots flew from the territory of Lithuania and dropped teddy bears urging for freedom of word over Minsk and Ivyanets. The Belarusian KGB started a criminal case upon the fact of the illegal border crossing. Two Belarusians – photographer and BAJ member Anton Surapin and real estate agent Syarhei Basharymau – were arrested. Later, they were released under a non-leave obligation.

Anton Surapin was the first to publish the pictures of the bears dropped by the Swedes on the Internet...

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Journalists Detained When Covering Businessmen Strike

Three journalists were detained at noon today on their way from Zhdanovichy market to the Parking trade center in Minsk. Unidentified plain-clothed people blocked the journalists’ car, dragged them out from the car, forced them into a minibus and took to the police department.

The correspondent of the Radio Svaboda Ihar Karney, correspondent of Narodnaya Volya Ales’ Sivy, and the journalist of TUT.by Natallia Kastsiukevich were preparing a report about the all-national strike of entrepreneurs: on June 27 sole traders are protesting against the technical regulations of the Customs Union “On safety of light industry” which envisages obtaining a certificate guaranteeing the good quality of goods imported from Russia...

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Minsk City Court dismissed appeals of Yarashevich and Barabarych

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Today the judge of the Minsk City Court Valer Kamisarau heard the appeal of two independent journalists Aliaksandr Yarashevich and Henadz Barbarych who were detained on April 26th after the Chernobyl Way demonstration and got three days’ arrest for disobeying police’s demands.

In the appeal the journalists drew attention to a large number of discrepancies and violations in the police’s testimonies and actions. According to the journalists, the policemen did not introduce themselves and did not name any reasons for detention, they did not provide procedural protocol, and in court they were unable to mention exactly the place of detention.

They insisted that the policemen were biased and interested to make the journalists guilty, because otherwise they would have been responsible th...

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