Belarusian Association of Journalists urges procuracy to abolish warnings to its members
On 2 March the Belarusian
Association of Journalists submitted an official letter to the Hrodna regional
prosecutor, Viktar Marozau, in which the difference between freelance journalists
and foreign media journalists is explained.
The reason for the letter was a series of warnings to BAJ members Mikalai Dziachenia, Aliaksandr Dzianisau, Viktar Parfionenka and Hrazhyna Shalkevich for work with foreign media without official accreditation.
BAJ argues that the Law “On Mass Media” prohibits activities without accreditation for “journalists with foreign media” (part 4 of Article 25). However, according to this law, “journalists for foreign media” are individuals who are bound with editorial offices of foreign media by working relations (part 6 of Article 1), whereas the Ruling on the order of accrediting journalists for foreign media in the Republic of Belarus states that the terms determined by the Law “On Mass Media” are used in it.
Thus, “only journalists which are staff members of editorial offices of foreign media need to receive the accreditation as foreign media journalists,” writes the deputy head of the BAJ, Andrei Bastunets.
What concerns the right of Belarusian citizens to gather and disseminate information, including through foreign media, it is guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, argues the lawyer.
At the end of the address the BAJ asks the procuracy to abolish the warnings to its members and urges to explain to officers of the Hrodna Regional Procuracy provisions of the Law “On Mass Media” in order to prevent its restrictive use.