Vienna, 04 April 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) criticized the repressive tactics of institutions in Belarus, as well as the organized media persecution that has been happening in the country.
Belsat TV journalist Alyaksandr Barazenka was arrested on 29 March while covering the Freedom Day celebrations and subsequent protests, and had gone on a hunger strike while in detention. He had been kept in detention since the incidents but was released on 31 March, with sources claiming that the detention conditions are difficult for journalists, media workers and activists who have been arrested. Belsat TV is a part of Polish public TV which is broadcasted in Belarus by local journalists and for a local audience.
So far, there have allegedly been over 90 detentions, 6 cases of physical violence and beatings by police members towards journalists, several cases of seized or destroyed equipment, and 40 legal cases. Several journalists have received fines of about 920 BYN (460 EUR), and others have been punished with arrests from 5 to up to 15 days.
SEEMO calls on the authorities in Belarus to respect the right of journalists to report.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.