Belarus: 17 organisations call for all imprisoned journalists to be immediately released

This statement was originally published on europeanjournalists.org on 5 February 2021.

Ahead of the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus on 7 February, the undersigned organisations working in the field of freedom of expression and media freedom call for the immediate and unconditional release of all journalists and media workers who continue to be arbitrarily detained.

Nearly six months since President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in what has been widely acknowledged and condemned as a fraudulent election, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya remains in exile and thousands of protesters continue to take to the streets of Minsk calling for his resignation.

The regime has made every effort to prevent its citizens from accessing independent information. News outlets have had their publishing licences revoked. Some have their equipment seized. Independent newspapers are banned from printing and barred from sales through the national state monopolist retailer.

As part of this effort, the authorities have also used violence, threats, and arbitrary detention to intimidate journalists and prevent them from doing their jobs. Reporters and photographers wearing press vests have been deliberately targeted by law enforcement. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), journalists were detained 480 times in 2020. They have spent over 1,200 days behind bars, often without being told what, if any, charges they face.

At least eleven journalists and media workers remain in detention, among them are several of our friends and colleagues. They are: Katsiaryna BarysevichDaria ChultsovaYulia SlutskayaAlla SharkoSiarhei AlsheuskiSergey OlshevskiPetr SlutskiKsenia LutskinaAndrei AliaksandrauKatsiaryna Andreeva and Aliaksandr Mikrukou.

As the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus approaches, we are calling for each and every journalist and media worker to be immediately and unconditionally released. We condemn the blatant violations to their human rights and once again remind the Belarusian authorities of their obligations under international law.

Signed:

  • Jessica Ni Mhainin, Senior Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, Index on Censorship
  • Dave Elseroad, Head of Advocacy and Geneva Office, Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
  • Maria Ordzhonikidze, Director, Justice for Journalists Foundation
  • Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  • Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia, ARTICLE 19
  • Laurens Hueting, Advocacy Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  • Jaroslaw Wlodarczyk, Secretary General, International Association of Press Clubs (IAPC)
  • Marcin Lewicki, President, Press Club Polska
  • Daniela Kraus, General Secretary, Presseclub Concordia, Vienna
  • Andrei Bastunets, Chairperson, Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ)
  • Peter Spiegel, Press Freedom Committee Chair, Overseas Press Club of America (OPC)
  • Board of Frankfurter Presseclub
  • Board of Press Club Brussels Europe
  • Pierre Ruetschi, Executive Director, Geneva Press Club
  • Ryszard Bankowicz, President, Polish Club of International Columnists
  • S Venkat Narayan, President, FCC of South Asia, New Delhi, India
  • Uri Dromi, Director General, Jerusalem Press Club

The post Belarus: 17 organisations call for all imprisoned journalists to be immediately released appeared first on IFEX.

Source: MEDIA FEED

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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