Belarusian Association of Journalists celebrated anniversary
10 years ago on 16 September 1995 the Belarusian Association of Journalists held a constituent meeting in the House of Writers in Minsk. 38 people founded BAJ. Now this journalist organization comprises around 1000 members.
"We have been together for 10 years. We move the same road. We live the hope for change. To make sure it happens, we should continue to be together", this is the slogan with which BAJ meets its tenth anniversary.
Tatsiana Melnichuk, a BAJ founder and its vice-president, told Radio Liberty: "This is almost the only organization that did not lose any of its members, that even grew numerically in this time difficult to the non-governmental organizations. Second, we have a very efficient legal department, because the current government views not as the "fourth estate" but as the first enemy".
Valentin Gefter, Director of Russian Institute of Human Rights, notes, first of all, the high level of the public and professional level of BAJ members: "We congratulate BAJ, where not only many journalists but also lawyers and human rights activists work, with whom we solve many problems. Not only the problems of the Belarusian media, but also the problems specific to all of the former Soviet countries. We jointly discuss and often argue and often propose constructive and beneficial ideas. The association has a high professional and public level. This is the way to keep it! I hope BAJ will continue and assist journalists".
Speaking of the problems of the journalist work, Tatsiana Melnichuk emphasized that despite international recognition, prizes, we would like the Belarusian journalists to be awarded honorable international journalism prizes not as fighters but as true professionals: "Unfortunately, in terms of professionalism, our profession loses a lot because the government has a bad attitude to the freedom of speech".