VIENNA, 6 September 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed condemnation of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court in Belarus against blogger and photographer Anton Matolka.
Matolka filed a lawsuit against the Belarusian TV and Radio Company (BT) several months ago, after the station used one of his photographs without his consent. The photo of polar lights, which Matolka took in 2015, was used in breach of copyright. The blogger initially demanded a high financial moral damage, but in the course of the hearing he reduced the amount to a symbolic 0.01 kopeks’ compensation.
The court ruled against Matolka and the decision cannot be appealed. Matolka has to pay 450 BYN (205 EUR) in court fees, and an additional 89,40 BYN (41 EUR) to the court-appointed expert.
‘SEEMO urges the relevant authorities to uphold the intellectual property rights of Anatol Matolka in this case,’ said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. ‘As the creator of the original image in question, he is entitled to the protection of its use’.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.