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  • Ranak newspaper editor and her colleague detained in criminal case

    Andrei Lipski, a former employee of the Ranak media company based in Svetlahorsk, reported on his Facebook page a recent uptick in questioning and detainment of his former colleagues.

    Yulia Daule­ta­va, the edi­tor of the Ranak media com­pa­ny, was detained and tak­en to a tem­po­rary deten­tion facil­i­ty in Zhlobin. She was last detained on 3 August 2023. Back then she was accused of alleged­ly insult­ing a police offi­cer online. The edi­tor was forced to apol­o­gize on cam­era at the police sta­tion and released that same day.

    Human rights activists claim that the jour­nal­ist is cur­rent­ly in deten­tion in a crim­i­nal case of pro­mot­ing extrem­ist activ­i­ty. The same arti­cle could be used to charge cor­re­spon­dent Lud­mi­la Anden­ka, who has also been at Zhlobin TDC since yes­ter­day.

    Ranak direc­tor Ale­na Shcherbina is out of reach at the moment.

    Ihar Kash­likau, a busi­ness own­er, start­ed a TV and radio com­pa­ny named Ranak in Svet­la­horsk two decades ago. Even­tu­al­ly, a pri­vate orga­ni­za­tion named Ranak-Rekla­ma was addi­tion­al­ly estab­lished. The com­pa­ny was involved in adver­tis­ing, print­ing, and media work. The agency became a major source of infor­ma­tion in the region. The com­pa­ny believes that 100,000 peo­ple in the local area watch and lis­ten to its TV and radio shows. Local coun­cil mem­bers vis­it­ed the company’s media cen­ter to learn how it informs peo­ple through TV and radio.

    The company’s founder and own­er, Ihar Kash­likau, left Belarus in 2021 due to claims made by the tax ser­vice. The edi­tor-in-chief, Vadz­im Vezh­navets, was entrust­ed with the respon­si­bil­i­ties of the man­ag­ing direc­tor.

    On 9 June 2023, the police arrest­ed nine staff mem­bers of Ranak Media and Ranak-Rekla­ma. These com­pa­nies made TV and radio news, pub­lished the Ranak-Plus news­pa­per, and han­dled adver­tis­ing.

    Fol­low­ing arrests and fines, the TV and radio com­pa­ny shut down. After the employ­ees were arrest­ed, the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion blocked the media outlet’s web­site. On 4 July 2023, the Homel Chy­hu­nach­ny Dis­trict Court labeled the web­site and social media pages of the TV chan­nel as “extrem­ist mate­ri­als”.

    On 5 Sep­tem­ber 2023, the Min­istry of Inter­nal Affairs declared the TV chan­nel Ranak an “extrem­ist for­ma­tion”.

    Read more:

    Lithuanian parliament awards Hope for Freedom Prize to Yahor Martsinovich

    An isosceles triangle. A free journalism forum taking place in Vilnius

    Mahiliou journalist Barys Vyrvich searched and questioned but eventually released

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