March 9, 2023

09.03.2023 – Belarus officials declared BAJ as an extremist group’

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has been declared as an “extremist grouping” by the Belarusian officials.

This decision, that became public on 7 March 2023, has serious implications for the members of the association, as they could now face criminal prosecution and harsh prison sentences. ^

BAJ is a professional journalist organization that has been advocating for press freedom and independent journalism in Belarus for more than 25 years. BAJ is a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), as laureate of the UNESCO World Prize in 2022.

This decision by the officials is the follow up of pressures against BAJ since years. After a search in the office of the organisation in 2021, some BAJ representatives were forced to leave Belarus. In August 2021, the Supreme Court decided to dissolve the organisation with over 1300 members.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns Belarusian authorities for this new attack on professional journalists and shows solidarity with Belarusian Association of Journalists. “This is a new step against media freedom in Belarus”, said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

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