SEEMO Alarmed: Supreme Court liquidated the Belarusian Association of Journalists

September 2, 2021 SEEMO Reactions from Countries / Regions disabled comments

Vienna, 28 August 2021

On 27 August 2021 President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime liquidated Belarus’s only independent journalists’ association. Upon a lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Belarusian Association of Journalists – BAJ (ГА “Беларуская асацыяцыя журналістаў) for allegedly violating the legislation on associations.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is alarmed about this state act. BAJ members were important partners of SEEMO in promoting press freedom, some of them are also SEEMO members.

BAJ had been the target of a major investigation since 9 June. On 21 June 2021, BAJ received a state request to provide to state officials administrative and financial documents on its activities, including lists of its members.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has documented hundreds of arrests, detentions and fines, as also dozens of criminal cases and prison sentences against journalists in Belarus.

BAJ is among dozens of human rights organisations and NGOs in Belarus that are targeted for liquidation.

“SEEMO is calling for international solidarity with BAJ and all other organisations. We call on the European Union, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations, as also representatives of all democratic states, to react urgently. What happened in Belarus in the past weeks is a new way of fight against democracy and human rights by authorities of a country”, said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.

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