Militia didn’t answer to BAJ appeal over attack on journalists

2009 2009-10-28T15:58:23+0200 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 (BAJ) hasn’t received an answer to its appeal concerning the events on September 16, though the deadline was on October 23.

BAJ head Zhanna Litvina told journalists would wait for a reply for a day.

“We haven’t got an official response. Maybe, it was sent on the final day, it may have taken more time because of the weekend. We are waiting until tomorrow,” Litvina told in an interview to Euroradio.

We remind that on September 16, officers of the law enforcement agencies used physical force to hinder journalist of Belarusian and foreign media to perform their professional duties. This happened during a picket of memory of politician Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasouski, disappeared 10 years ago.

People in mufti, two persons against teach journalist, were pushing journalists from the place of the picket, risking to damage equipment and injure reporters, though they had journalist certificates.

In this respect, the Belarusian Association of Journalists sent a request to prosecutor of Minsk Mikalai Kulik and minister of internal affairs Anatoly Kulyashou. The association demanded to identify and bring to responsibility the persons, who had given and performed unlawful orders.

As has already reports, on October 16, riot militia again blocked the work of journalists during a peaceful rally. While during the rallies on September 9 and 16 each journalist was accompanied by 2-3 persons, this time mass media journalists were encircled by 5 riot militiamen, who seized cameras and damaged equipment.

If we managed to make some photos and video footage of the outrage dispersals on September 9 and 16, this time journalists were almost unable to film anything.

Deputy minister of internal affairs of internal affairs of Belarus Yauhen Paludzen said on October 22 militia had worked out the measures that would change the form of work with journalists at mass rallies.

“The press and militia will work in such a way in the nearest time: there will be press-officers, militiamen in blue vests at mass events. Journalists will be able to refer them on all questions,” Paludzen said.

He noted that representatives of opposition movement “violated the law on mass events several times”. “Nevertheless, the Ministry of Internal Affairs took measures not to hinder work of journalists,” he added.

The deputy interior minister emphasized the Belarusian militia used the experience of their German colleagues to work out such measures.

“We have taken the experience of German police, who work at street actions of right, left and green movements. The press can’t film faces of policemen and demonstrators. Only wide shots are allowed. I think we should use this experience,” he said.

The German Journalists Association said in response to the statement of the Belarusian deputy interior minister: “If police beat people at demonstrations, the duty of a journalist is to record this.”