Vitsebsk journalists receive threat letters

2013 2013-08-02T20:57:58+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The same day Siarhei Serabro and Alena Stsiapanava received analogical letters with the heading “Know, what your tongue can lead you to”. Somebody, who signed as Yauhen Mishakou, criticizes there the information policy of Radio “Liberty” and “BelaPAN” and insults independent journalists. Though no names are mentioned in the letter, the author's intentions are quite clear.


The journalists posted the received letters on their Facebook accounts. Siarhei Serabro also asked his colleagues whether they received such letters. However, so far the letter has been received only by two journalists.

Alena Stsiapanava told the following about the received letter:

“Most probably, the signature is fake and the e-mail account was created just to send this letter. At least, I asked Yauhen Mikashou whether he didn't make a mist, but haven't received any answer. The letter contains some strained attempts to speak ironically about the critical articles concerning the Belarusian reality, written by the journalists. The author argues that these articles are far from being objective and the journalists are just implementing somebody's order and trying to earn a cheap popularity, acting immorally and seeking scandals for the sake of high royalties and fame... Meanwhile, the Yauhen Mikashou writes about some events, which aren't addressed by us, local journalists, who deal with the local agenda – about the relations between Belarus and Venezuela, the visits of the heads of states to one another... The letter ends with evident threats, such as that one can get to prison for such a loose tongue...”

In the last paragraph the independent journalists are reminded about the existence of the Law “About the fundamentals of activities to prevent law violations”, though it is unclear what relation representatives of this profession can have to this law. They are also scared with such articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus as “Discredit of the Republic of Belarus” and “Calls to actions, aimed at harming the external security of the Republic of Belarus, its sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and defensive capacity”.

Bear in mind that several years ago the apartments of Alena Stsiapanava and Siarhei Serabro were searched, they were sent articles from the local newspaper “Vitsbichy” with insulting remarks about the member of the Conservative-Christian Party “Belarusian Popular Front” Siarhei Kavalenka, who hanged out a white-red-white flag on the top of the main New Year tree of Vitsebsk, and statements that the independent journalists covered this deed from the wrong viewpoint... Siarhei Serabro, the editor of the
"People's News of Vitsebsk", is sometimes banned from attending official events with his photo-camera. Three weeks ago the police brought an administrative case against Alena Stsiapanava for an alleged violation of the Law “On Mass Media”, which the Kastrychnitski District Court of Vitsebsk refused to consider.