Journalist in Vitsebsk facing charges over illegal work for foreign media

2014 2014-04-21T12:44:23+0300 2014-04-21T12:44:23+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Alena Stsiapanava

Alena Stsiapanava

The fact that journalist Alena Stsiapanava is accused of working without accreditation for foreign media was reported during her visit to the Kastrychnitski district police department of Vitsebsk.

The summons was signed by senior inspector of law enforcement and prevention Siarhei Viaraksa. He also said that he initiated an administrative case for violation of the law on mass media, says Alena Stsiapanava:

“I was summoned to the police station to tell about the article entitled “Vitsebsk schoolchildren refuse to learn anthem”, which appeared on Radio Liberty’s website on January 28. Siarhei Viaraksa asked me if I knew the people mentioned in the text, and if I had anything to do with this publication on the Internet. Also, the police officer asked what I knew about “the situation with the anthem” of Vitsebsk, which was criticized by local people. Many believe that lyrics are not perfect and that it is so weak in the poetic sense that the work is not worth being named the anthem of the city. Nevertheless, it was approved by the city authorities in spite of all the public protest, and it triggered a new wave of indignation. This is also mentioned in the material, which the police officer had printed out and showed me during our meeting.”

Siarhei Viaraksa told the journalist that he would inform her about the future development of the administrative case. This was not the first attempt open an administrative case against Alena Stsiapanava. Last summer, the same police officer sent the case file to the Kastrychnitski district court, but judge Inna Hrabouskaya refused to hear the charges and the documents were returned for revision to the police because they did not contain convincing evidence of the journalist’s guilt.

Now, according to Alena Stsiapanava, the problem is not so much about her personally, but about the appearance of critical opinions on the city anthem. Probably, all the materials on this topic have been tracked by the authorities.