BAJ piece on dismissed state TV employees deemed “extremist”

21.06.2023 Source: Беларуская асацыяцыя журналістаў

The national list of “extremist materials” was updated by an article published by BAJ in March 2023. It is a story of how the state media management handles “disloyal” employees.

According to an updated entry on the website of the Ministry of Information, the news story “From Elite to Outcasts: Another Winner of ‘Televershina’ Contest Fired from BelTV” has been declared “extremist” by the decision of the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk on June 19.

According to the BAJ report published on March 15, security officers entered the Belteleradiocompany broadcasting studio and handcuffed Andrei Pinchuk, a respected director. After the “preventive conversation,” he was fired. The most probable reason was the statements of the TV channel worker which did not ideologically fit the official policy.

Andrei Pinchuk is one of the most experienced TV professionals in his field. Among others, he is the winner of the professional award “Televershina-2012” in the nomination “The best director of sports TV shows”.

The arrest of the former head of the Belarus 2 TV channel Volha Hladkaya was also mentioned – in early May she was sentenced to three years of home confinement. In the office, she kept service records and monitored the execution of contracts. The woman resigned from Belteleradiocompany in September 2020, which coincided with mass protests against the stolen presidential election and unlawful use of violence by the police. As a result, Hladkaya was charged with participation in an unauthorized assembly.

Human rights activists also received a video featuring plain-clothed police detaining the former correspondent of the CTV, Dzmitry Bayarovich, and his wife Valeria.

Dzmitry Bayarovich was an elite CTV member and worked in the apparatus. He organized polls of the participants of the so-called All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, accompanied inspectors during legal entity checks, and took comments from pro-regime experts on “Russia’s peaceful policy” and “encroachment on the freedom of speech in Ukraine”.

However, Dzmitry Bayarovich unexpectedly resigned and was questioned by “law enforcement”.

A number of former employees of state television channels have already been sentenced to long prison terms.

For example, journalist Ksenia Lutskina (two “Televershina” awards holder) was sentenced to 8 years in prison for “conspiracy to take over state power”. Dzmitry Luksha, a former anchor of the BelTV newsreel, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for “discrediting the state”. The former head of the “presidential pool” Dzmitry Semchanka (awarded “Televershina” in the same year as Andrei Pinchuk) was sentenced to 3 years in prison for inciting social enmity.

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