With great moral and professional commitment, we respond to the call of the Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and demand for the immediate release of 11 Belarusian journalists.
Belsat journalists Catarina Andreeva and Darja Chulkova have been kept behind bars since 15 November. They were detained for broadcasting live a violent dispersal during a protest in Minsk. The journalists are accused of taking an active part and even leading “group actions that grossly violate public order” with the help of the live stream, which resulted in the disruption of public transport. They face up to 3 years in prison.
BAJ reminds that in 2020, the Belarussian authorities arrested journalists 477 times, 62 journalists were subjected to violence, 50 media outlets were closed and journalists spent 1,200 days in prison. This repression intensified in 2021 with the criminal prosecution of nine journalists and media workers,” said BAJ President Andrei Bastunets. “They face long prison sentences on politically motivated charges.”
BAJ, the EFJ and the IFJ call on journalists’ organisations in Europe and around the world to take action to support Belarussian colleagues.