Homieĺ journalists challenge Rahačoŭ fines
July 10, Homieĺ freelancers Natallia Kryvashei and Kanstantsin Zhukouski filed cassation appeals to Homieĺ Regional Court, in which they challenge the verdict of Rahačoŭ District Court, by which they were fined 6.3 million rubles under Article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Violations for cooperation with Polish satellite TV channel "Belsat".
July 2, Judge of Rahačoŭ District Court Aliaksandr Krainikau journalists guilty of illegally producing and distributing media products. The fines were imposed on the basis of the violation reports that were drawn up by the head of the division of law enforcement and prevention Of Rahačoŭ District Police Department, Lieutenant Colonel Yury Astapovich. The journalists were informed about the trial via SMS messages.
The report reads: “May 12 at the site near the shop “Proxmix” in Bahatyroŭ Street in Rahačoŭ, Kanstantsin Zhukouski and Natallia Kryvashei interviewed citizens, without having accreditation in the Republic of Belarus as journalists for foreign media. Thereby, they illegally manufactured media products, namely a report titled “Sour taste of the crisis. Why does Rahačoŭ condensed milk remains in the warehouses?"... The video was shown on May 14" on the TV channel "Belsat" of the Polish Republic, in the program “Objective”, and then placed posted on the official website of the channel, in violation of provisions of Art. 35, part 4 of the Law "On Mass Media"."
This was already the fourth such trial for Natallia Kryvashei and the seventh one for Kastus Zhukouski (six trials were on charges of violating Art. 22.9, part 2 of the CAV and one – Art. 23.34). All in all, Natallia has to pay to the budget 24.3 million rubles, and Kastus Zhukouski – 31.5 mln rubles.
Homieĺ activist Leanid Sudalenka, who helps the journalists to appeal the penalties, says that the judge in both cases took responsibility for violation of Articles 23 and 34 of the Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"The right to freedom to receive and disseminate information may be subject to certain restrictions, but they must not only be prescribed by law and be necessary in the interests of national security, public order, protection of morality, health, rights and freedoms of others. By limiting the rights of journalists, the court was not able to demonstrate, for the achievement of which of these goals the journalists were punished," said the lawyer.