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  • Smalyavichy: Authorities fine reporter for covering social problems

    Smalyavichy court has imposed a fine of 1,225 Belarusian rubles on journalist Volha Czajczyc for her contributing to a news story about local residents’ protest.

    “Judge Alyak­san­dr Kazlous­ki said that he con­sid­ered my mak­ing a state­ment an attempt to defend myself. In his opin­ion, all what I said is a lie,” she stressed.

    It is the ninth time the jour­nal­ist has been pun­ished for her pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ty this year; the penal­ty amount has totalled to 8452.5 rubles (near­ly $4,200). In 2017, she was fined sev­en times.


    Because of the work in the ‘par­ti­san’ con­di­tions, Bel­sat employ­ees are often on tri­al for ille­gal pro­duc­tion of media mate­ri­als (Arti­cle 22.9 of the Admin­is­tra­tive Code) and work with­out accred­i­ta­tion. In 2017 alone, Bel­sat con­trib­u­tors paid to the state as much as $14,000 in fines. Accord­ing to BAJ, last year, 94% of fines for alleged ille­gal man­u­fac­tur­ing of media mate­ri­als fell on the jour­nal­ists of Bel­sat.

    The Belaru­sian For­eign Min­istry has repeat­ed­ly declared that it could not issue any accred­i­ta­tion to Bel­sat because the jour­nal­ists work­ing for the TV sta­tion … break the law.

    Thus, the cir­cle clos­es: jour­nal­ists are denied accred­i­ta­tion because they break the law and they break the law, because they work with­out accred­i­ta­tion that they seek. And it explains the exis­tence of absur­dist Arti­cle 22.9 of the Admin­is­tra­tive Code, which pro­vides pun­ish­ment for ‘ille­gal pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion of media prod­ucts’. If you have accred­i­ta­tion, you are allowed be a jour­nal­ist. If you do not have it – you are out­lawed.

    For the year to date, fines total­ing to about $ 30,000 have been imposed on our jour­nal­ists by the Belaru­sian author­i­ties. How­ev­er, these dra­con­ian mea­sures will not affect our work. We keep devel­op­ing and launch­ing new projects.

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