Article 19 sent an open letter to the head of the Belarusian state A.Lukashenka, expressing its deep concern over the deteriorated situation with freedom of expression in Belarus
On 18 April the World Campaign for Freedom of Speech Article 19 sent an open letter to the head of the Belarusian state A.Lukashenka, expressing its deep concern over the deteriorated situation with freedom of expression in Belarus. The organization is particularly concerned over: the lack of results in the case of the murder of the journalist Veranika Charkasava; the closed elaboration of the new draft law on the media; the creation of obstacles for the professional activity of some journalists, etc.
The organization urges the Belarusian authorities to bring the national legislation and its enforcement in line with the international standards of freedom of expression. In particular, Article 19 requires:
- cancellation of the laws providing for imprisonment for defamation and insults. The criminal responsibility for defamation should be cancelled and replaced with civil responsibility; fulfillment of requirements made by the OSCE representative for the freedom of the media, and by the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Belarus, which were presented in the reports in March 2005. In turn, Article 19 offers assistance with fulfilling these recommendations. (BAJ)