Freelance journalist Tamara Schapiotkina fined 7.2 mln
Judge Sviataslau Kalina of Brest’s Lieninski District Court ruled to sentence freelance journalist Tamara Schapiotkina to a fine of 40 basic units (7.2 mln rubles) for alleged violation of Art. 22.9, para. 2 of the Administrative Code (illegal manufacturing of media products). The journalist was accused of preparing a story for the Poland-based Radio Racyja without accreditation. The report of an administrative offense stated that on 8 January 2015 Ms. Schapiotkina without accreditation as a journalist in the territory of the Republic of Belarus interviewed an employee of traffic police of the Brest police department Siarhei Nelipovich. The interview was then posted on Radio Racyja’s website. Three witnesses argued that Schapiotkina did not contact the police officer on that day. Besides, in January, there was not a single interview or even a comment about the police officer on the website of Radio Racyja. The website only posted his comment on 19 November 2014.
The judge dismissed a request of the journalist’s lawyer Yauhen Alesik to screen Radio Racyja’s online publications about the policeman, saying that the case file had enough evidence.
Tamara Schapiotkina says that the court's decision is illegal and intends to appeal it.