Journalists protest against riot policemen’s lawlessness at opposition rallies

2009 2009-09-18T16:46:50+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Belarusian Association of Journalists expresses its protest against harsh interference to professional activities during the rallies on September 16 and 9.

As noted in the statement of the organisation, on September 16 in the evening law-enforcers used force interfering Belarusian and foreign journalists to shoot the events during the rally in commemoration of disappearances of politicians Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski 10 years ago. “People in plainclothes acted rudely, closing the lenses of cameras, with the risk to damage equipment and hurt journalists, pushed them away from the scene of events, though journalists had identity documents of their editorial offices,” the BAJ statement underlines.

Almost the same happened on September 9, when policemen prevented journalists from covering the picket on October Square in Minsk. The protest was staged against bringing Russian troops participating in Zapad-2009 drills in Belarus.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists finds it inadmissible and unacceptable to interfere with professional activities of journalists, which is a right of the society for receiving and dissemination of information guaranteed by the Constitution.

The BAJ reminds workers of law-enforcing agencies and other state agencies about the right of journalists to “attend mass events, in places of other events of public interest and communicate information from such places” (Law “On Mass Media” currently in force, Art.34, part 2.2).

The organisation also expresses “serious concerns that such facts during mass rallies are getting common again, and show that there are special orders, executing which law-enforcers violate the law”.

The BAJ calls upon the law-enforcing agencies and the Interior Ministry to make adequate evaluation of these facts and punish those responsible, and also urges to take measures to prevent violations in the practice of work with the press.

The BAJ will take all the possible and necessary measures not to leave such actions unpunished, and prevent their repetition in the future, the statement underscores.