Paul Dabravolski, a reporter working for the Belarusian news website TUT.BY was arrested and given a fine of 9.450.000 Belarusian rubles (420 EUR) for filming police beating two protesters during a court hearing on a graffiti case on 25 January. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) have today condemned the arrest and urged the authority to withdraw all charges against Dabravolski.
OSCE Representative condemns police violence against journalist in Belarus and reiterates call on authorities to stop persecuting members of media
VIENNA, 27 January 2016 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today condemned an attack against a journalist by police officers in Belarus, and called on the authorities to ensure journalists’ safety.
On January 26, the Board of BAJ made a statement concerning yesterday’s beating of Pavel Dabravolski, journalist of TUT.by, in the building of Frunzenski district court of Minsk.
Journalist Pavel Dabravolski was covering a scandalous graffiti case when he was detained, beaten and fined.
The Committee for State Security (KGB) informed Aliaksandr Alesin last week, the prosecution against the journalist had been suspended.
“Changes in Belarus always follow ‘one step forward – two steps backwards’ principle… We don’t need cosmetic changes. We need systemic reforms of Belarusian media legislation…”, – Mikhail Yanchuk, Deputy Chairperson, Belarusian Association of Journalists.
According to Beltelecom data, foreign websites make 95 per cent of online traffic in Belarus.
On January 20, the court of Karma district (Homel region) fined freelancer Kastus Zhukouski for 30 basic amounts.
The Judge of Kalinkavichy district court Liudmila Savastijanava found freelancer Kastus Zhukouski guilty of violating article 22.9 of the Code of Administrative Violations, and fined him for 35 b.a. (7 mln 350 thousand BR, or around 330 euro).
Mapping Media Freedom correspondent Volha Siakhovich spoke to Andrei Bastunets, chairpersion of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, about the state of press freedom in Belarus.