Belarusian Association of Journalists Demands Objective Investigation of Threats to Iryna Makavetskaya
On 28 January the PA “Belarusian Association of Journalists” (BAJ) filed official letters to the prosecutor of Homel region A. Palavin and the head of Homel Regional Internal Affairs Board V. Yaromkin. The BAJ members ask for all-sided, complete and objective investigation of all circumstances of the incident that happened to the journalist of “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” Iryna Makavetskaya.
The authors of the letter express their incomprehension of the refusal of Homel police to initiate a criminal case on the fact of the telephone treats to Iryna Makavetskaya in the night between 10 and 11 January. On the other hand, BAJ approved of the decision of Homel Chyhunachny Borough Prosecutor’s Office to set this decision aside and direct the case materials for further checking.
“A number of laws of the Republic of Belarus guarantee the rights of journalists and their defense”, -- is said in the letter. “According to Article 48 of the Law “On Press and Other Mass Media”, hindrance to the legal activity of journalists by citizens, duty officials, state bodies and organizations ensues in administrative, criminal and other kinds of responsibility”. Besides, the BAJ members quote Article 198 of the Criminal Code “Hindrance to legal professional activity of journalist”, that provides up to three years of jail or personal restraints as a punishment. The authors of the letter are of the opinion that the mentioned incident can be qualified upon this article.
BAJ turns the attention of the prosecutor’s office that this incident “by far exceeded the limits of personal relations between two workers of mass media” and caused a great resonance… “We apply to You, asking to provide the appropriate control with the aim of all-sided, complete and objective investigation of all circumstances of this incident”, -- reads the document.
Information Department of HRC “Viasna”