Government intensifies press crackdown ahead of election
March 17, 2006 12:00 PM ET
New York, March 17, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores the ongoing government crackdown on independent media in Belarus ahead of a presidential election Sunday. Authorities barred two Polish journalists from entering the country to cover the poll, seized the print-run of an opposition newspaper, and pressured a cable TV operator to drop a Russian broadcaster, media reported.
President Aleksandr Lukashenko has moved aggressively against the media to curb coverage of candidates challenging his bid for a third term in office.
“We condemn President Lukashenko’s continuing intimidation and censorship of the press,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “No election can be valid when the public is deprived of independent political reporting and national debate is stifled.”
Lukashenko is seeking a third term after securing a constitutional amendment passed in October 2004 in a vote that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said "fell significantly short" of democratic standards.
Today, police in the capital Minsk seized the entire 200,000 print-run of Tovarishch (Comrade), the official newspaper of the Belarusian Communist Party, the news agency Belapan reported. Editor Sergei Voznyak said police gave no explanation for the seizure. The issue contained the election program of opposition candidate Aleksandr Milinkevich, Belapan said.
Also today, guards at the Bobrovniki-Berestovitsa border crossing turned back journalists Marek Zabrodzki and Jerzy Leszczynski of Polish radio Belostok, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. Both journalists had valid business visas and press accreditation from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.
On Thursday, cable TV operator Kosmos TV stopped transmissions by the international Russian television channel RTVi. The channel had been regularly broadcasting a program on Belarus since February. Kosmos TV said the change was due to technical problems that were not likely to be fixed until after the election, the human rights monitor Charter 97 said.
But RTVi Director Mikhail Borshchevsky told RFE/RL that the channel received a call from Kosmos TV on Thursday saying that the cable operator was instructed “from above” to halt RTVi broadcasts. The channel had planned to broadcast a program on the presidential election that day.
Belarus police raid independent media offices, detain journalists
August 8, 2018 4:25 PM ET
Kiev, August 8, 2018--Belarusian authorities should immediately release detained journalists and stop harassing independent media outlets, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police raided the Minsk offices of at least three independent Belarusian news outlets and detained at least 17 journalists yesterday and today, accusing them of unlawfully...
In Belarus, critical blogger Sergey Petrukhin faces new charges
July 31, 2018 4:41 PM ET
New York, July 31, 2018--Belarusian authorities should end their harassment of independent blogger Sergey Petrukhin and allow him to work without fear of reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A court today charged Petrukhin with disobedience of an official order, according to the independent Belarusian Association of...
Kiev, July 6, 2018--Belarusian authorities should immediately release journalist Dzmitry Halko and drop all the charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Halko, also known as Dmitry Galko, is scheduled to be tried by a Minsk court on July 10 on charges of assaulting a police...
Belarus moves to prosecute 'fake news,' control the Internet
June 8, 2018 5:03 PM ET
Kiev, June 8, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Belarusian parliament to reject proposed laws that could further censor the media in the country. The Prosecutor General's Office is drafting a bill on "fake news," and the lower house of parliament separately is considering amendments to...
Journalists face trial for covering protests in Belarus
April 12, 2017 4:09 PM ET
New York, April 12, 2017--Belarusian authorities should immediately drop all charges against journalists for covering protests and should allow the news media to work unobstructed, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today....