Belarusian Association of Journalists and editors of socio-political newspapers express support to 'Salidarnasts'
19 July editors of the leading independent media of Belarus made a joint statement to support the Salidarnasts (www.gazetaby.com) independent online publication that is pressurized by trade union officials.
Here is the text of the statement.
'Traditionally, the pressurization of independent media by the authorities becomes aggravates on the eve of elections. In such conditions non-state media have a special need not only for solidarity and support from NGOs, political parties and other organizations of civil society and democratic community, but for a strategy of interaction in general.
Thereby, we express our concern with the facts of some trade union officials trying to put under control Salidarnasts independent online publication. A principled position of the website in relation to several negative issues of the Belarusian union movement has lead to incongruous and groundless charges being put against the editorial board.
The attitude to the freedom of expression defines the level of democratic views of politicians. We especially regret about the incident that happened 1 June 2010. Aliaksandr Yarashuk, Chairperson of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU), personally forbade Alena Yakzhyk, a journalist of Salidarnasts, to be present at a meeting of the BCDTU Council.
This step fails to correspond to democratic standards and to Aliaksandr Yarashuk’s own statements. 'This is going to be a difficult year, I think this is going to be the moment of truth for the whole democratic community, a test on how it deals with solidarity with independent media,' he previously stated in one of his interviews. 'If we don’t protect independent media, which are not numerous, we should not think of participating in political campaigns.'
This is true. That is why we urge to stop attacks against Salidarnasts and hope Aliaksandr Yarashuk and his supporters will respect the freedom of expression and the freedom of press, as well as the right to receive and impart information without obstacles in their future activities.'
The statement was signed by the following persons:
1. Vasil Zdaniuk, editor-in-chief of SNplus. Svobodnye Novosti Plus newspaper
2. Aliaksei Karol, editor-in-chief of Novy Chas newspaper
3. Ales Lipai, director of BelaPAN Information Company
4. Zhana Litvina, the chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists
5. Andrei Skurko, editor-in-chief of Nasha Niva newspaper
6. Yuliya Slutskaya, editor-in-chief of the European Radio for Belarus
7. Iosif Siaredzich, editor-in-chief of Narodnaya Volia newspaper
8. Viachaslau Khadasouski, editor-in-chief of Belorusy I Rynok newspaper
9. Uladzimir Yanukevich, Chairperson of the Association of Regional Press Publishers’ United Mass Media