On March 7, it became known that the State Security Committee of Belarus recognized the Belarusian Association of Journalists as an extremist formation. BAJ became the first Belarusian human rights organization that ”received" such a status.
It is reported that the decision on this was made on February 28. And 3 days later, the authorities handed down a shameful verdict in the Viasna case.
BAJ was founded in 1995 and has been working for more than 27 years to support truthful journalism in Belarus, quality media, and the protection of the rights of their colleagues.
During this time, BAJ has become a world-famous organization, a member of the International and European Federation of Journalists, a laureate of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and many other world awards.
Even after BAJ was dissolved by the authorities, the organization was awarded the UNESCO World Prize in 2022 and several other awards attesting to the recognition of the organization's activities by the international community. Belarusian Nobel laureates, Sviatlana Alexievich and Ales Bialiatski, both are BAJ members.
After the second search, which was in fact a pogrom, in the office of the organization in 2021, BAJ leaders were forced to leave Belarus. In August 2021, the Supreme Court decided to dissolve the organization (without even creating a dissolution commission, which clearly indicates the quality of the court decision), depriving 1300 BAJ members and colleagues of the realization of the right of association.
But the Belarusian Association of Journalists is not an entry in the register of legal entities, but a community of professionals and like-minded people working for one goal: to make high-quality truthful media, to give objective information to society, to protect the right to freedom of expression.
The decision of the KGB of Belarus is a new manifestation of the authorities' pressure on Belarusian periodicals and journalists aimed at intimidation and repression in order to stop the work of independent media, which is crucial for society.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists thanks all friends and colleagues for their support.
We will continue to pay maximum attention to the safety of our colleagues and the protection of our communications — and we continue to work to achieve the mission of the organization: expanding the space for freedom of speech through the support of high-quality journalism demanded in modern society and the dissemination of truthful information.