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  • Journalists and human rights defenders are not extremists. BAJ considers it absurd that the organization was recognized as “extremist”. STATEMENT

    On March 7, it became known that the State Security Committee of Belarus recognized the Belarusian Association of Journalists as an extremist formation. BAJ became the first Belarusian human rights organization that ”received" such a status.

    It is report­ed that the deci­sion on this was made on Feb­ru­ary 28. And 3 days lat­er, the author­i­ties hand­ed down a shame­ful ver­dict in the Vias­na case.

    BAJ was found­ed in 1995 and has been work­ing for more than 27 years to sup­port truth­ful jour­nal­ism in Belarus, qual­i­ty media, and the pro­tec­tion of the rights of their col­leagues.

    Dur­ing this time, BAJ has become a world-famous orga­ni­za­tion, a mem­ber of the Inter­na­tion­al and Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists, a lau­re­ate of the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s Sakharov Prize for Free­dom of Thought and many oth­er world awards.

    Even after BAJ was dis­solved by the author­i­ties, the orga­ni­za­tion was award­ed the UNESCO World Prize in 2022 and sev­er­al oth­er awards attest­ing to the recog­ni­tion of the orga­ni­za­tion’s activ­i­ties by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty. Belaru­sian Nobel lau­re­ates, Svi­at­lana Alex­ievich and Ales Biali­ats­ki, both are BAJ mem­bers.

    After the sec­ond search, which was in fact a pogrom, in the office of the orga­ni­za­tion in 2021, BAJ lead­ers were forced to leave Belarus. In August 2021, the Supreme Court decid­ed to dis­solve the orga­ni­za­tion (with­out even cre­at­ing a dis­so­lu­tion com­mis­sion, which clear­ly indi­cates the qual­i­ty of the court deci­sion), depriv­ing 1300 BAJ mem­bers and col­leagues of the real­iza­tion of the right of asso­ci­a­tion.

    But the Belaru­sian Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists is not an entry in the reg­is­ter of legal enti­ties, but a com­mu­ni­ty of pro­fes­sion­als and like-mind­ed peo­ple work­ing for one goal: to make high-qual­i­ty truth­ful media, to give objec­tive infor­ma­tion to soci­ety, to pro­tect the right to free­dom of expres­sion.

    The deci­sion of the KGB of Belarus is a new man­i­fes­ta­tion of the author­i­ties’ pres­sure on Belaru­sian peri­od­i­cals and jour­nal­ists aimed at intim­i­da­tion and repres­sion in order to stop the work of inde­pen­dent media, which is cru­cial for soci­ety.

    The Belaru­sian Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists thanks all friends and col­leagues for their sup­port.

    We will con­tin­ue to pay max­i­mum atten­tion to the safe­ty of our col­leagues and the pro­tec­tion of our com­mu­ni­ca­tions — and we con­tin­ue to work to achieve the mis­sion of the orga­ni­za­tion: expand­ing the space for free­dom of speech through the sup­port of high-qual­i­ty jour­nal­ism demand­ed in mod­ern soci­ety and the dis­sem­i­na­tion of truth­ful infor­ma­tion.

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