Customs Officers Doubt Journalists’ “Right to Be Free”
Independent journalists who returned on September 23rd, 2007 from rock festival “The Right to Be Free” were stopped at the crossing of the Belarus – Ukrainian border. The Belarusian customs officers copied information from their cameras and listened to voice recordings.
The journalists went on the same bus with the musicians who took part in the festival. About 6 a.m. in the morning customs officers checked the belongings of Vadzim Aleksandrovich (Belarusy I Rynok) and Arsen Pakhomau (Nasha Niva). Having copied all the information without permission of the owners they returned the equipment to the journalists. Free-lance journalist Ilya Malinouski was ordered to turn on his voice recorder. The customs officers listened to all recordings he had made during the festival.
On the way to the festival, in the evening of September 21st, the journalists and the musicians spent about 5 hours at the same border crossing. Border guards collected their passports and did not return them giving no reasons.