05 February 2021
Ahead of the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus on 7 February, the undersigned organisations working in the field of freedom of expression and media freedom call for the immediate and unconditional release of all journalists and media workers who continue to be arbitrarily detained.
Nearly six months since President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in what has been widely acknowledged and condemned as a fraudulent election, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya remains in exile and thousands of protesters continue to take to the streets of Minsk calling for his resignation.
The regime has made every effort to prevent its citizens from accessing independent information. News outlets have had their publishing licences revoked. Some have their equipment seized. Independent newspapers are banned from printing and barred from sales through the national state monopolist retailer.
As part of this effort, the authorities have also used violence, threats, and arbitrary detention to intimidate journalists and prevent them from doing their jobs. Reporters and photographers wearing press vests have been deliberately targeted by law enforcement. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), journalists were detained 480 times in 2020. They have spent over 1,200 days behind bars, often without being told what, if any, charges they face.
At least ten journalists and media workers remain in detention, among them are several of our friends and colleagues. They are: Katsiaryna Barysevich, Daria Chultsova, Yulia Slutskaya, Alla Sharko, Siarhei Alsheuski, Petr Slutski, Ksenia Lutskina, Andrei Aliaksandrau, and Aliaksandr Mikrukou.
As the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus approaches, we are calling for each and every journalist and media worker to be immediately and unconditionally released. We condemn the blatant violations to their human rights and once again remind the Belarusian authorities of their obligations under international law.
Jessica Ní Mhainín, Senior Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, Index on Censorship
Dave Elseroad, Head of Advocacy and Geneva Office, Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
Maria Ordzhonikidze, Director, Justice for Journalists Foundation
Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia, ARTICLE 19
Laurens Hueting, Advocacy Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
Jaroslaw Wlodarczyk, Secretary General, International Association of Press Clubs (IAPC)
Marcin Lewicki, President, Press Club Polska
Daniela Kraus, General Secretary, Presseclub Concordia, Vienna
Andrei Bastunets, Chairperson, Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ)
Peter Spiegel, Press Freedom Committee Chair, Overseas Press Club of America (OPC)
Board of Frankfurter Presseclub
Board of Press Club Brussels Europe
Pierre Ruetschi, Executive Director, Geneva Press Club
Ryszard Bankowicz, President, Polish Club of International Columnists
S Venkat Narayan, President, FCC of South Asia, New Delhi, India
Uri Dromi, Director General, Jerusalem Press Club
The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and undersigned partner organisations are concerned about and condemn recent statements by Turkish President Erdoğan and other government officials pertaining to the introduction of new regulation of so-called fake news and “foreign-funded” news in the country.READ MORE
The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is highly alarmed by the revelations by a consortium led by French NGO Forbidden Stories about the surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers and others through the Pegasus spyware program developed by Israeli company NSO Group.READ MORE
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECMPF) is saddened by the death of Georgian TV camera operator Alexandr Lashkarava. Last week, far-right assailants severely beat him while he was covering attacks on LGBTQI+ activists in Tbilisi. A few days later, on 10 July, he was found dead at his home by his mother.READ MORE
The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today expresses deep concern about the future impartiality and independence of Albania’s Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) following the election of a close associate of the ruling Socialist Party to head the media regulator.READ MORE
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) remains highly concerned by the continuing onslaught on independent media in Belarus, which appears to have taken yet another turn for the worse this week. We reiterate our call on the authorities of Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release all arrested journalists, media workers and political prisoners.READ MORE
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.