Reporters without Borders: Lukashenka playing triple game

2009 2009-05-21T18:08:37+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Representatives of Reporters without Borders blame the Belarusian authorities of pressing the opposition.

Only slightly changes in the situation with freedom of media can be noticed in Belarus, representative of Representatives of Reporters Elsa Vidal said on May 20. The human rights activist thinks there are different levers of pressure upon the Belarusian ruler in this sector, but it’s “very difficult to press on Alyaksandr Lukashenka”, Deutsche Welle reports.

“We shouldn’t forget Belarus still has far more serious problems in media freedom, for example, an issue of accreditation of foreign media and independent journalists working in Belarus remains unsolved. The authorities try to keep journalists under control and use different measures to press on them, including making impossible demands for accreditation,” Elsa Vidal said.

“The Belarusian authorities have changed the outer plan to show more liberal policy in media sector in Belarus is possible. From the other hand, they still have enough instruments to put pressure on the civil society, opposition and especially its young activists,” the representative of Reporters without Borders noted.

According to her, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the government of Belarus “play a triple game: with the EU, Russia and the third side is domestic policy – the people of Belarus.”

“The Belarusian president gives signals to the EU to use this as a lever in relations with Russia. He does the same with Russia trying to influence the EU decisions. I think the European Union should try press on Lukashenka and the government to make them perform the democratic standards and develop civil society,” Elsa Vidal said.

“Besides, the European Union should support independent journalists and other representatives of the civil society of Belarus for Lukashenka to understand it’s better for him to cooperate with the EU rather than miss this opportunity. I think Belarus and EU have many points of contact, but a condition for cooperation should be liberalization of the Belarusian society,” Elsa Vidal said.

According to the representative of Reporters without Borders, the organization make next demands on liberalization for the Belarusian authorities: legalization of activity of media existing in the country at the moment, giving the right for independent and opposition editions to work in an open and free way, cancelling the laws and regulations restricting freedom of press.