New warnings for ‘illegal journalism’
On 14 July Minsk oblast prosecutor’s office used warnings for ‘illegal journalist activities’ to the members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Aksana and Alexander Kalinkins.
’Since 2007 the journalists of the Russian mass media Telekanal Blagikh Novostey (TV Channel of Good News) have acted in Minsk and Minsk oblast without accreditation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus’, reads the warning. ‘The editorial and producing institution TRK Angel-TV, not included in the state register of mass media, is used for illegal journalist activities.’
As it follows from the text of the warning, this ‘violation’ was discovered by Minsk oblast prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office enumerates the reports of the abovementioned journalists that were broadcast by Telekanal Blagikh Novostey: celebration of the Catholic Easter, some events dedicated to religious education, presentation of the informational-educational religious center in Minsk, etc.
’Thus, by your actions you violate Article 35, part 4 of the law On mass media that prohibits the professional activities of journalists for foreign media without accreditation on the territory of the Republic of Belarus’, states the prosecutor of Minsk oblast Alexander Arkhipau that signed both warnings.
The deputy head of the BAJ Andrei Bastunets believes that the warning is groundless.
‘The prosecutor’s office refers to Article 35 of the law On mass media, but ignores Article 1 of this law that contains the definition of a journalist for foreign media: a person who have working relations with and are included in the staff of a foreign media. The legislation does not prohibit preparation of audio and video materials and articles for foreign media. Moreover, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights directly guarantees this right to everyone,’ emphasizes Mr. Bastunets.
The warned journalists are going to appeal against the warnings.
Bear in mind that in the beginning of 2009 Homel oblast prosecutor’s office also warned Tatsiana Bublikava and Aleh Razhkou for ‘journalist activities for the Polish satellite TV Channel BelSat’.