Record fine for freedom of expression
Homieĺ journalist Natallia Kryvashei has been sentenced to a fine of 9 mln Belarusian rubles for shooting in a video, shown at the satellite TV channel “BelSat”.
Judge of the Centraĺny District Court of Homieĺ Maryna Damnenka dismissed almost all motions of the journalists, including the motion for leading the trial in the Belarusian language and questioning the witnesses.
Natallia Kryvashei argues that there wasn't even a hint of objectivity at the trial: “How can one say about fairness, if she dismissed all my motions. She even refused to listen to a witness's testimony. She dismissed absolutely everything and, probably because I challenged her so many times, sentenced me to the maximal sum of fine – 50 basic units.
Thus, Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “illegal manufacture of mass media products”, has been used in Belarus 21 times in 2015. As of now, the total sum of the fines, imposed on freelance journalists, exceeds 100 mln Belarusian rubles.