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  • Belarus authorities suspend popular news portal’s status of media outlet

    On September 29, Belarusian Information Minister Ihar Lutski ordered to suspend TUT.BY’s status of an online media outlet for the period of three months starting October, 1.

    As report­ed ear­li­er, on Octo­ber 8, the Eco­nom­ic Court of Min­sk is to con­sid­er the ministry’s claim on the ter­mi­na­tion of the portal’s pub­lish­ing sta­tus.

    The media out­let sta­tus pro­vides a num­ber of advan­tages; in par­tic­u­lar, the abil­i­ty to legal­ly be present in areas of armed con­flicts, at emer­gency fields, at mass events, etc and report from there. It should be recalled that TUT.BY was reg­is­tered as a media out­let in Jan­u­ary 2019; since its found­ing in 2000, the por­tal had been work­ing with­out this sta­tus.

    Oppo­si­tion leader Svy­at­lana Tsikhanouskaya has com­ment­ed on the sit­u­a­tion:

    “Belaru­sians were deprived of access to the Inter­net, free­dom of assem­bly, phys­i­cal free­dom, the right to an attor­ney and a fair tri­al, the right to go on strike and do their job, includ­ing being a jour­nal­ist. The regime keeps per­sist­ing in its opin­ion that it is pos­si­ble to cov­er up its crimes by stop­ping a print­ing press, block­ing a web­site or depriv­ing media out­lets of accred­i­ta­tion. But the regime is wrong. Dear jour­nal­ists, you are heroes. I admire your resilience and pro­fes­sion­al­ism which are espe­cial­ly notice­able and valu­able in the face of legal default.”

    In the 2020 Press Free­dom Index by Reporters With­out Bor­ders, Belarus ranks 153 out of 180 coun­tries. Now it is between the Sul­tanate of Brunei and Turkey and four posi­tions below the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion. Is should be not­ed that the lat­est ver­sion of the Index was issued before the dra­mat­ic events of August, 2020. The list of inci­dents which Belaru­sian Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists regards as vio­la­tions of jour­nal­ists’ rights, com­mit­ted by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the author­i­ties is here (in Eng­lish)

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