Freelance journalist in Homieĺ appeals fine
On June 18, journalist Natallia Kryvashei, who received the maximum possible penalty (a fine of 50 basic units, or 9 mln rubles), filed an appeal against the ruling of the court of Centralny district. The freelance journalist does not agree with the punishment for “illegal production of media products” without accreditation for the TV channel Belsat.
The charges stemmed from a video entitled “Suicide of a Teacher”, which was aired on the channel on April 15. Another journalist Kanstantsin Zhukouski was fined 5.4 million for the same report.
This is the third administrative penalty for Natallia Kryvashei on charges of “illegal production and distribution of media products.” The total amount imposed fines reached 18 million rubles. Since the beginning of the year, Belarusian courts have issued 21 fines to journalists for violation of Part 2, Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code. The total amount of awarded fines is more than 108 million rubles (more than 6,000 Euro).
Human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka, who has helped the journalist to appeal the fines, says that this year’s cases against journalists must be brought to the UN Human Rights Committee, because in cases of media law judges should give priority to international law.
“The enjoyment of the right to freedom to receive and disseminate information may be subject to certain restrictions, but they must not only be prescribed by law, but should be necessary in the interests of national security, public order, protection of morality, health, rights and freedoms of others. When limiting the rights of the journalist, the court failed to demonstrate which of the above objectives were pursued by the sentence,” said the lawyer.