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  • The Belarusian Association of Journalists held a solidarity action «Stand Up for Journalism» on November 5

    The same very day some of the journalists suspected in BelTA case were served formal charges.

    Jour­nal­ists in Min­sk and in the regions of Belarus sup­port­ed the action of sol­i­dar­i­ty.

    In Belarus, post­ing one’s pho­to with a poster in social media (that’s what the action was about) might lead to seri­ous con­se­quences.

    For exam­ple, on Novem­ber 5, 2014,  a group of Viteb­sk jour­nal­ists and activists staged a pho­to ses­sion.  On the back­ground, there was graf­fi­ti: news­pa­per birds fly out of the cages. Once the pho­tos were pub­lished on the Inter­net, the police insti­tut­ed admin­is­tra­tive pro­ceed­ings against 8 par­tic­i­pants of the pho­to shoot. The jour­nal­ists received heavy fines, while a bypass­er , Piotr Berlin­au, who just hap­pened to join the group on the pho­to, had to spend three days in jail.

    This year, the main threat is the crim­i­nal case launched against promi­nent jour­nal­ists and edi­tors of inde­pen­dent media.

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

    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 behind bars. Most of them are under trav­el restric­tions.

    On Novem­ber 5, the day of BAJ sol­i­dar­i­ty action «Stand Up for Jour­nal­ism», the police served offi­cial charges to some of the sus­pects in BelTA case.

    In par­tic­u­lar, four TUT.BY jour­nal­ists were offi­cial­ly charged with «hav­ing per­formed delib­er­ate, for finan­cial or oth­er per­son­al gain, unau­tho­rized access­es to com­put­er infor­ma­tion stored in the com­put­er sys­tem and net­work of BelTA uni­tary enter­prise, accom­pa­nied by secu­ri­ty breach, entail­ing oth­er sig­nif­i­cant harm through neg­li­gence.»

    The jour­nal­ists remain free  on their own recog­ni­zance to behave and not to leave the coun­try.

    The world­wide Stand Up for Jour­nal­ism! cam­paign is held on Novem­ber 5. Since 2007, IFJ’s cam­paign draws atten­tion to the main threats faced by jour­nal­ists all over the world.

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