Vienna, 9 August 2017 – The South East European Media Organisation (SEEMO) was disturbed to learn about an attack and new pressure against independent Belarusian journalist Kanstantyn Zhukouski (Konstantin Zhukovski).
According to information SEEMO received Zhukouski was attacked on 8 August on a pig farm. After the attack Zhukouski spent the night in s hospital.
Additional to this attack, freelancer Zhukouski was accused again of violating Article 22.9, part 2 of the Belarus Code on Administrative Violations, after his footage about the worsening ecological conditions and air pollution present on a pig breeding farm was used in a report. The piece was published by the Belsat TV channel. Zhukouski has been fined in the past years many times for contribution of his material to Belsat. Only in this year he was punished six times (in total 5,865 BYN).
According to the authorities, he is reporting without an “accreditation for foreign press”.
Art. 22.9 envisage liability for “illegal production and distribution of mass media products”. In the past years a numerous of freelancers have been held responsible for their work for violating art. 22.9, some of them have been fined several times.
The South East Europe Media Organisation expressed deep concern for the overall state of media freedoms in Belarus. SEEMO members call on institutions in the country to drop all charges against Zhukouski and all other journalists.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.