Freelance journalist Kanstantsin Zhukouski gets fourth fine in two months
On February 24, the Žlobin District Court fined Kanstantsin Zhukouski, a freelance journalist working for the Belsat TV channel, 16 million rubles on charges of illegal manufacturing media products (Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code).
According to the charges, the journalist illegally filmed and interviewed residents of the Žlobin district, despite having no accreditation as a journalist of the foreign mass media. The videos were later aired by the Belsat TV channel.
Mr. Zhukouski’s defense lawyer, Piotr Barysau mentioned a number of violations committed by the police officers. In particular, the police report had no signatures by the witnesses, Zhukouski was not notified properly about the date of the trial and so on. The lawyer also asked to write to the TV channel in order to have evidence that his client was indeed working for the channel. “There was no evidence that the actions of my client constituted an offense under Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code,” said he.
At the end of the hearing, the journalist called the charges a “circus and outrage against the law”, saying that he was looking forward to the time “when the judges are truly independent and are guided by the law, instead of telephone justice and instructions from above.”
Over the past years, Kanstantsin Zhukouski has been repeatedly fined by the courts of the Homieĺ region for his work as a journalist. The total amount of fines he has been awarded currently exceeds 70 million rubles.