The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has expressed outrage at a foreign travel ban imposed by the Belarusian authorities on at least four independent journalists

2012 2012-03-16T15:14:26+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has expressed outrage at a foreign travel ban imposed by the Belarusian authorities on at least four independent journalists.

In a statement issued on March 15, CPJ called on the authorities to immediately restore their freedom of movement.

"We are astonished by this blatant act of illegal restriction on the freedom of movement," said Nina Ognianova, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program coordinator. "Journalists are not criminals and to treat them as such is a crime. The government must stop punishing individuals for their candid reporting about developments in Belarus."

Speaking to reporters on March 1, a few days after the European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes on new Belarusian officials, Pavel Radzivonaw, a departmental chief at the Prosecutor General’s Office, said that persons calling on foreign states and international organizations to impose economic and other sanctions against Belarus might be subjected to a temporary ban on foreign travel and even to criminal prosecution.

After that, four members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, including Chairperson Zhanna Litvina, Mikhail Yanchuk of the Polish-based Belsat TV targeting audiences in Belarus, human rights defender Valyantsin Stefanovich, and Nasha Niva Editor-in-Chief Andrey Dynko, were prohibited from traveling abroad, along with several opposition politicians.

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