Statement of Belarusian Association of Journalists on violence against journalists in the Crimea
Two days nothing was known about Ukrainian journalists from Ukrainski Tyzhden and Glavkom who had been detained by people in military clothes on March 9 on entering the Crimea. Only on the evening of March 11, it became known that they were released.
A violent attack on journalists, with beatings and damaging equipment, took place on March 7 in the territory of the Ukrainian military tactical group “Crimea” in Sevastopol.
On the night of March 8, armed people confiscated equipment from a camera crew of Associated Press agency in Simferopol.
On March 9, on entering the Crimea, people in Berkut uniform searched and threatened physical violence to a photo correspondent of the Ukrainian website “Insider”.
On March 10 in Lugansk, unidentified people prevented correspondents of the Ukrainian TV TNT and TRK-Ukraina from work: they threatened, insulted the journalists and confisctaed their information carriers with recorded materials.
Belarusian journalists who have been in the Crimea testify that a situation as such, uncontrolled and unpredictable, is extremely hazardous for representatives of mass media.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists claim that a situation when journalists are prevented from performing professional duties is inadmissible.
Those who use violence against journalists demonstrate their genuine intentions – to stop information undesirable for certain political circles.
We underline that hot spots are visited not by “adventurers”, but also by professional reporters whose work is to provide people with the fullest picture of events.
Violence against journalists not only fails to stop information, but also incites rumors, provokes false stories and accelerates tensions.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists calls on all people and organizations involved in the conflict to put an end to the violence and to ensure normal conditions for journalists work.
Adopted by the Board of BAJ
The official statement was sent to the Supreme Council and to the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea.