Belarusian Association of Journalists Directs Inquiry to Lidzia Iarmoshyna
According to BAJ Press-service
On 9 February BAJ sent an inquiry to the head of the Central Election Commission Lidzia Iarmoshyna. According to BAJ, her statement that using independent mass media during the election campaign "will be regarded as moneyed assistance which is forbidden by the law" is only an interpretation of the ambiguous Electoral Code and contradicts the legislation on mass media. BAJ stresses that art. 33 of the Election Code gives the Central Election Commission the right to define the order of using only state mass media during the election campaign. But it does not concern independent mass media.
BAJ stresses that according to art. 3 of the Law on press and other mass media: "Belarusian citizens have the right to search, get and distribute information through mass media and to express their opinion and thoughts".
The organization reminds that according to art. 58 of the Basic Law nobody can be made to resign their rights. Forcing journalists to distribute or to refuse to distribute information is a violation of the freedom of mass media according to art.48 of the Law on mass media.
In connection with it BAJ asked L. Iarmoshyna to explain:
- Whether her statement was a personal idea or the official position of the Central Election Commission;
- If it is the official position of the Central Election Commission BAJ asks to explain what is meant by "using independent mass media"; what laws forbid publishing information about candidates or interviews with them ; according to what kind of laws will mass media have to account for their actions.
Let us remind you that on February 8 Lidzia Iarmoshyna claimed that "the selective legislation does not give candidates an opportunity to use independent mass media during their election campaign. It is regarded to be moneyed assistance which is forbidden by the law" and that "in case of any violation of the law it would be independent mass media to account for everything".