Mahiliou journalists harassed by law enforcement and officials
Chairman of the Mahiliou Regional Executive Committee Piotr Rudnik ordered to “grind to the dust” a local independent small-circulation newspaper called “Nash Mahiliou” (“Our Mahiliou”), while the local freelance journalist Aliaksandr Burakou has been harassed by the police over his contribution for the independent media.
Piotr Rudnik was angered by a material about First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee Aliaksei Kisialiou which was posted on the newspaper’s website and was entitled “Mahiliou official refuses to receive mother and child”.
According to a source in the Executive Committee, Piotr Rudnik was so indignant that he ordered chief of the regional department of the Interior Fiodar Baleika to use any means in order to “grind to the dust” the independent periodical.
Nash Mahiliou’s editor Ihar Barysau says that the independent press must not be fought, but the level of culture and education of local officials should be improved instead.
"The article itself is not very biting. It’s about a woman named Iryna Ilyinskaya, who told our reporters about a situation that she encountered at the office of the First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee Kisialou. He refused to receive her with a baby asleep in her arms. He offered to leave the child in the lobby. The official received the woman only after people in the lobby tried to protect her. Is it for this that we should be “ground to the dust”? If a person does not know how to work with people and be empathetic, is he then worthy of his post?” says Ihar Barysau.
The editor believes that after the governor’s statements there may be provocations against the journalists of Nash Mahiliou.
Meanwhile, it is reported that local police inquire for a freelance journalist Aliaksandr Burakou. A policeman phoned his neighbor and asked her about what Burakou was doing as a journalist.
The journalist believes that the harassment is a precaution measure taken by the law enforcement agencies ahead of the local elections and the presidential election of 2015.