Saturday 16 October 2021 | 08:32

BAJ protests against prosecution of journalists for contribution to foreign mass media

30.09.2014  |  Society   |  EuroBelarus Information Service,  
BAJ protests against prosecution of journalists for contribution to foreign mass media

The demand for Belarusan citizens to have accreditation from the Foreign Ministry of Belarus to seek and spread information violates the Constitution and international legal obligations of Belarus.

The public association Belarusan Association of Journalists made a statement against prosecution of reporters whose names and materials appear in foreign mass media.

“Pressure on these journalists bears clear characteristics of threat and blackmailing, and contradicts to national legislative norms as well as to obligations of the Republic of Belarus to ensure freedom of information under international agreements”, - is said in the special statement.

On September 25, the Babruisk district court fined Maryna Malchanava, a journalist of the non-state newpaper Bobruyskij Courier, for 32 basic amounts (4 800 000 rubles). She was found guilty of violating p. 2 of art. 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Violations, for "illegal production and distribution of mass media products". According to the police report compiled by lieutenant colonel Siarhei Rudzko, the journalist "performed interviewing of a citizen..." "without the appropriate accreditation to perform professional activities for journalists of foreign mass media". The case stemmed from a material authored by Maryna Malchanava on Belsat TV channel.

Several days before, on September 16, officers of the Lenin district police department searched the flat of journalist Aliaksandr Burakou, as well as his parents' flat. The searches were sanctioned by the prosecutor’s office of Mahilieu city. They seized computer equipment belonging to the whole family.
The reason for the searches were three publications on the website www.dw.de authored by Aliaksandr Burakou. The police assured that there were no claims against the contents of the articles; however, the very fact of publishing an article on the website Deutsche Welle (the Russian version of which is only online) gives grounds for administrative prosecution. By publishing the article, the journalist, in their view, violated the legislation on mass media as he had not got accreditation from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Belarus. The journalist has another summons to the police department for September 30.

BAJ draws attention that it is not the first time that provisions of art.22.9 of the Code on Administrative Violations are misused against journalists who send their materials to foreign media. Such legal practice violates national legislation of Belarus as well as obligations of our state in the sphere of freedom of expression under internatioal agreements.

Art. 22.9 of the CoAV, to which law enforcement agencies refer, DOES NOT PROVIDE for liability for work without accreditation. Equating "work without accreditation" to illegal production and distribution of mass media products is wrong at least because mass media products are produced by an editorial office of a mass medium, and not by a journalist alone; and again, it is the editorial office who distributes the product, but not the author alone. It clearly stems from article 1 of the Law on Mass Media (points 6, 7, 12).

Moreover, the demand for Belarusan citizens to have accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus to seek and distribute information violates the Constitution and international legal obligations of Belarus.

The text adopted by the Board of BAJ on September 26 was sent to the General Attorney, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Chairperson of the Standing Commission of the House of Representatives on Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media, as well as to the Chairman of the Supreme Court. 

Other news section «Society»

What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
The Belarus Committee of ICOMOS announces the collection of cases on the effectiveness of the State List of Historical and Cultural Values as a tool of the safeguarding the cultural monuments.
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
On March 27-28, the Belarus ICOMOS and the EuroBelarus held an online expert workshop on expanding opportunities for community participation in the governance of historical and cultural heritage.
“It is our big joint work”
“It is our big joint work”
It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The Forum was devoted not so much to the outputs as to the challenges and prospects after the creation and signing of local agendas.
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
In Stoubcy, they talked about universal design and conducted pilot monitoring of two urban sites accessibility.
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
"Specificity is different, but the priority is general." In Valożyn, a local strategy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
The campaign "Agenda 50" was summed up in Ščučyn, and a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed there.
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
The regional center has become the second city in Belarus where the local plan for the implementation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
Representatives of the campaign “Agenda 50” from five pilot cities discussed achievements in creating local agendas for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
It is noteworthy that out of the five pilot cities, Stoubcy was the last to join the campaign “Agenda 50”, but the first one to complete the preparation of the local agenda.
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
On May 28, the city hosted a presentation of the results of the project "Equal to Equal" which was dedicated to monitoring the barrier-free environment in the city.
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
In Babruysk, wheelchair users are fighting discrimination.
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.