Committee to Protect Journalists denounces Lukashenka regime

2012 2012-02-21T17:01:56+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The Lukashenka regime reinforced its reputation as Europe's most repressive regime for the press last year, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report released on Tuesday.

After a “rigged” presidential election in December 2010, the Belarusian leader unleashed two waves of repression against critics and political opponents, one at the beginning of the year and one in the summer, says CPJ in its “Attacks on the Press in 2011” report.

The KGB and police raided independent newsrooms and journalists' homes, confiscated reporting equipment, and jailed independent reporters, while “politicized courts” handed down suspended prison terms to prominent journalists Iryna Khalip and Andrzej Poczobut, the agency says.

The report mentions the use by police of brutal force against reporters covering nationwide anti-government protests and multiple denial-of-service attacks on critical news websites and the official blocking of them.

The suspicious 2010 death of Aleh Byabenin, one of the founders of the opposition news site, remained unexamined, adds CPJ.

According to CPJ, two sites in Belarus were blacklisted, 95 journalists were detained during the summer crackdown, 114 pieces of equipment were seized, editor Natallya Radzina was held in custody for 39 days and KGB officers occupied for 108 days the home of Ms. Khalip while she was under house arrest last year.

Forty-six journalists were reportedly killed around the world in 2011.