Civil society alarmed by lack of reliable information on COVID-19 outbreak in Belarus
The Belarusian Association of Journalists has called on the government to provide full, accurate and regular updates on the current situation with the coronavirus disease, as lack of information has led many to believe the country’s authorities are downplaying the spread of the infection.
“In this difficult period, the work of the media requires utmost professionalism, promptness and verification of information on every case and on the situation as a whole. However, their correct work is impossible if the government do not timely and accurately inform journalists, answer their questions and requests for information. Obviously, the best way to prevent fakes from appearing in the media is to promptly provide official and truthful information,” BAJ said in an open appeal to the Ministry of Health Care, saying that some reporters have been denied access to official medical data.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” is joining the legitimate demand based on Article 34 of the Belarusian Constitution, which compels the government to inform people about the activities of government bodies and other activities concerning their rights and legitimate interests.
“We, Belarusian human rights activists, call on the Belarusian authorities to truthfully and promptly inform the citizens through television, radio and other media about the current state of affairs, about what measures should be taken immediately by the people in order to minimize the possibility of infection,” Viasna leader Ales Bialiatski said on behalf of the organization.