Angnieszka Romaszewska Banned Entrance to Belarus again
On 13 December Agnieszka Romaszewska, journalist of Polish TV, wasn’t let out of the National Airport “Minsk”. On 10 December she wasn’t let into Belarus when going there by car with her camera crew. She considered it as a mistake. This time the border guards also checked her documents and stated that according to the law on stay of foreign citizens in Belarus she didn’t have the right to enter the country. The border guards tried to send her back by the same plain, but the pilot refused to take her onboard without the ticked and the deportation documents. Then the border guards took away her passport. Ms. Romaszewska had to spend night in the room for deported persons, situated in the border zone of the Airport. The Polish Consul, who met with the journalist, can’t understand such actions of the authorities.
Agnieszka Romaszewska is indignant at the prohibition. He was going to head the correspondent station of Polish TV 1in Minsk, had visa and the accreditation that issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ending on February 2006.
Ruslan Iesin, official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, confirmed to RFE/RL that Agnieszka Romaszewska really had the accreditation, but stated she was prohibited entry on legal grounds:
-- The entrance prohibition is not connected to the professional activity of the journalist. Despite the fact she was banned entry before, she again attempted to get into the country. Her actions are of provocative and unfriendly nature.
Ruslan Iesin also said there were no official applications from Warsaw concerning the opening of the correspondent station of Polish TV 1 in Minsk and even oral negotiations with the information board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs weren’t held.
Yaroslaw Szczepanski, representative of the TV Company, said to RFE/RL everything would be done to get the permission for work to Agnieszka Romaszewska. The leading Polish newspapers, TV channels and radio stations informed people about the incident and that in the last resort Polish TV had many other journalists who could work in Belarus. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland reacted to the deportation quite calmly. Mr. Szczepanski said it was the right way to do because sharp actions in response could make the work of other journalists in Belarus more complicated. He also said the intention of the Polish TV to establish a correspondent station in Minsk wasn’t directly connected to the upcoming presidential election, but it was worthless to open it in the case it was impossible to direct journalists there.
Rzeczpospolita pointed Belarusian border guards took away the passport from the journalist who had a valid Belarusian visa and accreditation and tried to deport her without passport. Gazeta Wyborcza reminded Ms. Romaszewska used to work in Belarus for several months and, in particular, informed Poles about the conflict of the authorities with the Union of Poles in Belarus.