KGB against BelSat
The first non-state TV channel for Belarusians BelSat begins broadcasting from December, 10. The Gomel KGB is trying to find out who of the local journalists is going to work for independent TV.
The satellite channel BelSat will be transmitted from Warsaw. The independent television has prepared a number of correspondents in every region of the country to follow the events objectively. The secret services have begun searching for possible journalists of BelSat. Gomel dweller Siarhei Padsasonny, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists became one of the first victims.
Siarhei Padsasonny said to Deutsche Welle the KGB has only recently taken an interest in his personality. One day policemen came to journalist’s apartment and said “a man was beaten in the yard opposite the entrance of my house, that’s why they were asking the witnesses. They asked to go in kitchen and saw what the windows open to. Then they went to my room, saw a view from the window.”
After that the policemen told good bye and left the apartment. But the next day the young man was visited by uninvited guests again.
“I was alone at home. There was a ring at the door, people introduced as the police. But they were KGB agents. The first they said was – dress if you want everything to be OK”.
Siarhei said it resembled him the situation in 1930ies. He wasn’t allowed to make a call. They threatened Siarhei with accusation of criminal offence, in case of resistance.
Carrot and stick
Siarhei Padsasonny was guarded to the building of Gomel KGB department by official car. In the cabinet the journalist managed to phone the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
But when the BAJ members phoned the KGBB press service, they were said such man hadn’t been detained.
“At the same time I was said nobody had detained me, I came to them voluntary. And they will say everyone I came here on my own accord to tell them about BelSat”.
When Siarhei Padsasonny refused to speak with KGB agents, they began to threaten they would spread rumors about his cooperation with secret service. When the attempts of threatening failed, “they began to suggest: you had worked at the university earlier, we can help you to receive job there again, but you need to cooperate with us and tell us about BelSat”.
Finally, Siarhei Padsasonny was set free without a report drawn up.
Another case of violation of rights
Head of Homel branch of BAJ Anatol Hatouchyts gives an emotional estimate of the situation with the member of his organization:
“In my opinion, such actions violate all acting in Belarus laws and human rights.”
Anatol Hatouchyts said the Belarusian Association of Journalists had prepared appeals to prosecutor’s office and other institutions.
It should be reminded that Homel is a leader among the cities where journalists, who are suspected in cooperation with foreign media without accreditation, are persecuted,. In this connection three independent journalists received official warnings from the area prosecutor’s office.