• Actual
  • Law and the media
  • Helpful
  • Work areas and campaigns
  • Reviews and monitoring
  • Home Affairs Ministry Sees No Violations of Journalists Rights

    The Ministry of Home Affairs replied to the petition of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, which called on the authorities to investigative the mass violations of journalists’ rights in March. The key point of the reply is that law enforcement officers did not violate any law, and BAJ “has to stop “covering up” and “justifying” the people who have nothing to do with mass media”.

    The Min­istry of Home Affairs replied that it did not have any objec­tive infor­ma­tion on unlaw­ful activ­i­ties of its employ­ees.

    Remark­able quotes:

    “Cit­i­zens’ belong­ing to a mass medi­um does not exempt them from legal respon­si­bil­i­ty stem­ming from vio­la­tions of the pro­ce­dures of hold­ing mass events, this refers more­over to those per­sons who intro­duce them­selves as jour­nal­ists, but who real­ly aren’t /journalists/.”

    “Shar­ing the con­cern for pub­lic safe­ty dur­ing mass events, the MHA calls on BAJ to orga­nize explana­to­ry work among jour­nal­ists and exclude “cov­er­ing up” and “jus­ti­fy­ing” actions of the per­sons who don’t have any rela­tion to mass media”.

    The reply was signed by the inter­im head of the depart­ment on secur­ing pub­lic order A.M. Zhylinksi.

    BAJ feels dis­ap­point­ed that the Min­istry of Home Affairs did not bring to lia­bil­i­ty those who unlaw­ful­ly detained jour­nal­ists per­form­ing pro­fes­sion­al duties.

    BAJ list­ed over 100 cas­es of inter­fer­ence into jour­nal­is­tic activ­i­ties that, in BAJ view, were unground­ed.

    “We sent our peti­tion after events on March 12 when among many oth­ers, Hali­na Abakunchyk, Radio Svabo­da cor­re­spon­dent, was detained. The same day Adar­ja Hushtyn, Bela­PAN cor­re­spon­dent, faced with obsta­cles. So, the infor­ma­tion of the MHA that no jour­nal­ist of an accred­it­ed mass medi­um had suf­fered is not true,” says Andrei Bas­tunets, chair and lawyer of BAJ. “I under­line that in Belarus web­sites are equaled with tra­di­tion­al mass media, so online jour­nal­ists enjoy the same rights as jour­nal­ists of tra­di­tion­al media. Our posi­tion is that jour­nal­ists’ rights should be pro­tect­ed regard­less of the fact whether they work for tra­di­tion­al mass media, a web­site, or a for­eign mass medi­um.”

    In the state­ment, BAJ remind­ed of the lia­bil­i­ty for inter­fer­ence into jour­nal­is­tic activ­i­ties envis­aged by arti­cle 198 of the Crim­i­nal Code. The MHA replied that their employ­ees had been informed about jour­nal­ists’ rights and the lia­bil­i­ty. “The way how law enforce­ment agen­cies act­ed on March 25 rais­es doubts that the warn­ing about the lia­bil­i­ty for inter­fer­ence into jour­nal­is­tic activ­i­ties had been effec­tive,” added the chair of BAJ.

    The most important news and materials in our Telegram channel — subscribe!
    Most read
    Every day send to your mailbox: actual offers (grants, vacancies, competitions, scholarships), announcements of events (lectures, performances, presentations, press conferences) and good content.


    * indicates required

    By subscribing to the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy