May 28, 2024

28.05.2024 – Belarusian Journalist Faces Continued Harassment and Raids

Since November 2020, Alexander Kornyshau (Аляксандр Корнышаў), editor of the online publication “Vitebsky Courier News,” (Витебский курьер news – is living abroad. On 23 May 2024, Belarusian security forces allegedly conducted a search at his registered address in Vitebsk (Віцебск), Belarus the apartment of his parents, where he no longer has any belongings.

Security forces arrived around 7 a.m., allegedly questioning Kornyshau’s relatives about his journalism activities, the funding of “Vitebsky Courier News,” and his personal contributions to the publication. They claimed they were searching for “extremist informational materials” but found nothing. The agents were also interested in Kornyshau’s assets.

Alexander Kornyshau has not lived with his parents for a long time, and his only personal property in Belarus, a car, was seized by the bank due to unpaid loans. Despite this, security visits to his parents’ home have become frequent since his participation in the “Belarus for Belarusians” program on the Belsat TV channel ( These visits have allegedly occurred almost monthly.

In April, officers from the Pyershamayski District (Першамайскі раён) Police Department searched for Kornyshau in connection with administrative cases under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Offenses Code for posting “extremist” links. These links directed to materials from “Vitebsky Courier News,” which was labeled as extremist by the Vitebsk Railway District Court on 14 January 2022. Unable to find him, police sent the protocols via personal messages on VKontakte, summoning him for trials on 16 May and 20 May of 2024. However these trials did not appear in the court schedules, leaving Kornyshau uncertain about their outcomes.

Two weeks ago, Kornyshau learned that he had been added to the “extremist list” on the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ website, identified as a participant in the “European Choice” pre-election initiative, which was declared an extremist formation on 10 May 2024.

Alexander Kornyshau’s situation highlights the ongoing repression of independent journalism in Belarus. Despite living abroad, his family continues to face harassment, illustrating the extent of the Belarusian authorities’ crackdown on dissent and freedom of the press.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the ongoing state harassment against Belarusian journalist Alexander Kornyshau and his family. The repeated searches and questioning by security forces at his parents’ home, despite his prolonged absence and lack of any incriminating materials, exemplify the repressive tactics employed by the Belarusian authorities against independent journalism. This targeted persecution, including Kornyshau’s inclusion in the extremist list and the unwarranted pressure on his family, represents a blatant violation of press freedom and human rights. SEEMO urges the Belarusian government to cease these oppressive actions and respect the fundamental rights of journalists and their families.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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