Committee to Protect Journalists Is Concerned with Increasing Pressurization of Mass Media in Belarus

2007 2007-02-07T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


Belarus is one of 10 countries of the world with the strictest censorship, – states the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Prosecution and pressure upon independent mass media from the official authority side only increased in Belarus in 2006. The pressure upon independent press became especially stronger close to March President Elections and after it, – informs the ‘Attacks on Press’ CPJ report, published on February 5.

’Authorities arrested scores of home and foreign journalists, who were trying to cover the election campaign and protests after it in the capital against violations during the elections. For months before the elections the Alexander Lukashenko administration practically disabled independent and oppositional mass media of the possibility to report news and comments to their audience’ – informs the CPJ report.

’The state mail service refused to deliver newspapers, which are criticizing authorities; state agency on press distributing refused selling such newspapers in news-stands; printing houses has been refusing to print it under the authority pressure, and border guards has been taking away the whole print run of the editions, who could evade the ban, having been printed abroad, – ‘Attacks on Press’ mentions conditions, in which Belarusian non-governmental newspapers were working. – In such poor conditions the newspapers had to use the distributional system, reminding underground press.’

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ analysis, during the last days of the President election campaign in Belarus independent journalists ran the arrests, followed by 5, 10 or 15 days imprisonment. Independent news sites had technical problems during the Election Day; police arrested three Belarusian independent mass media editors without explaining reasons; authorities forbade covering elections to some Russian journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists draws attention to the fact that in the conditions of the independent radio and television absence, main news programs ‘were filled with pro-governmental and anti-Western propaganda’.

According to the BAJ Monitoring Service estimates, there were 26 arrests of Belarusian and foreign journalists, registered within the week after the elections’, – informs the CPJ. – During the camp town annihilation in the morning of March 25, which was organized on the capital central square as a protest, members of riot squad arrested journalists and didn’t allow them to film their actions.

The Committee reminds in the ‘Attacks on Press’ about the administrative prosecution of the ‘Nasha Niva’ Belarusian language independent newspaper by the capital authorities and emphasizes that the newspaper will continue being published, no matter the pressure, and celebrated hundred anniversaries.

The CPJ workers mention that strict measures were also used in relation to other meetings and journalists, which were covering them.

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ analysis witnesses about indifferent attitude of official authorities to the journalists’ kills investigations. The ‘Attacks on Press’ emphasizes that the cases of the cameraman Mr. Dzmitry Zavadski tragic disappearing and the Salidarnasts independent newspaper journalist Mrs. Veranika Charkasava kill are still not solved.

The ‘Attacks on Press’ analytical report is published annually, beginning from 1981 and has a reputation of the most competent information source about press conditions in different countries of the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists is a politically neutral nonprofit organization, created to fight for the press freedom in the whole world, – informs the CPJ about himself. The organization site is: