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  • BAJ Asks BelTA CEO Not to Bring «BelTA Case» to Court

    BelTA CEO Iryna Akulovich expressed understanding of BAJ opinion that the confrontation between the state-owned and non-state media is not good for anyone. However, Akulovich plans to wait for the end of the investigation into the BelTA case".

    Irina Akulovich. © Photo: TRC "Mahiliou"

    Barys Haret­s­ki, BAJ deputy chair­per­son, met with Iry­na Akulovich to con­vey BAJ opin­ion that none of the par­ties needs con­fronta­tion in the jour­nal­is­tic com­mu­ni­ty.  For many years, the Belaru­sian Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists made sig­nif­i­cant efforts to estab­lish a dia­logue between jour­nal­ists of state-owned and pri­vate media. The «BelTA case» against inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists is a huge back­slide on the progress.

    Fur­ther­more, the «BelTA case» has caused great image loss­es for BelTA and the author­i­ties, and not the inde­pen­dent media, believes the Belaru­sian Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists.

    Haret­s­ki remind­ed BelTA of the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion pro­ce­dure envis­aged by the Belaru­sian Crim­i­nal Code. In this case, the crim­i­nal case will not be brought to court. BAJ deputy chair­man believes this is one of the pos­si­ble steps to resolve the con­flict. Now it is all up to BelTA.

    In her turn, Iry­na Akulovich said that she under­stood the sit­u­a­tion. How­ev­er, she would not make any steps until the inves­ti­ga­tion is over.

    Akulovich also said she did not see the poli­cal moti­va­tion in the case. In her opin­ion, this is all about pass­words and ille­gal access. She, as BelTA CEO, needs to pro­tect the sub­scribers.

    - Iry­na Akulovich under­stands BAJ opin­ion. But more impor­tant­ly, the read­ers of non-state media should under­stand one sim­ple thing. The author­i­ties can do what­ev­er they want with the medi­aas long as we, the soci­ety, do not stand up in their defence.

    Noth­ing will change, as long as we believe that the free media are to fight their way on their own, and we are just the con­sumers.

    If we give our sup­port to the jour­nal­ists we read, to the news­rooms, and stand up in their defence, the sit­u­a­tion will begin to change, — Barys Haret­s­ki calls on every­one to join the «Stand Up for jour­nal­ists!» cam­paign.


    On August 7–9, the police searched the offices of TUT.BY, Bela­PAN news agency and oth­er media out­lets, as well as jour­nal­ists’ pri­vate apart­ments.

    The author­i­ties detained Mary­na Zolata­va, chief edi­tor of TUT.BY, TUT.BY’s edi­tors Han­na Kalty­hi­na, Hali­na Ulasik, and Han­na Yarma­chonak, Bela­PAN’s chief edi­tor Iry­na Leushy­na and its com­men­ta­tor on inter­na­tion­al affairs Tat­siana Kar­avenko­va, Deutsche Welle’s cor­re­spon­dent Pauliuk Byk­ous­ki, and edi­tor of Belorusy i Rynok web­site Ali­ak­sei Zhukau.

    They all spent sev­er­al days in cus­tody. Being sus­pects in the case, most of them are under trav­el restric­tions.

    The Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee sus­pects jour­nal­ists of unau­tho­rized access to com­put­er infor­ma­tion of BelTA, state-owned news agency. Inde­pen­dent ana­lysts are con­vinced that BelTA case is an attempt to intim­i­date and take the lead­ing non-state media under con­trol. The jour­nal­ists face fines and even jail terms.

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