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  • Social Net Live Stream Results in a Fine for a Zoo Activist

    On April 26, the Viciebsk region court upheld the decision of the Orsha court to fine a local environment activist for a live stream on the social net Odnoklassniki.

    Yuliya Grenko­va (pen­name Yul­liya Malysha­va) vis­it­ed an ani­mal nurs­ery to find out what the con­di­tions of keep­ing ani­mals were there. Sev­er­al vol­un­teers entered the premis­es freely. When they were near out­door cages with dogs, a guard appeared, and they start­ed ask­ing why the ani­mals were kept in such poor con­di­tions. The guard start­ed to insist that they should leave. Yuliya Grenko­va switched on her mobile cam­era and pub­lished a live stream on the local social net Odnok­lass­ni­ki. The guard called the police, sev­en vol­un­teers were detained, and lat­er on fined.

    The Orsha court found the Yuliya Grenko­va guilty of vio­lat­ing arti­cle 22.9, part 2 of the Code of Admin­is­tra­tive Vio­la­tions (ille­gal pro­duc­tion or dis­sem­i­na­tion of mass media prod­ucts), 23.4 (dis­obe­di­ence to police’s demands) and fined her for 483 BYN, plus the charge of unlaw­ful tres­pass to the ter­ri­to­ry of the nurs­ery cost her 575 BYN. The appeal hear­ing last­ed around 5 min­utes.

    She was giv­en the min­i­mum fine accord­ing to arti­cle 22.9 – 20 basic amounts – as she is a moth­er of two kids on mater­ni­ty leave.

    “The gate was open, and we entered. We met a men who intro­duced as the head of the guard and accom­pa­nied us to the open-air cages. How­ev­er, lat­er on it turned out that he was only a guard. I start­ed  the online stream in Odnok­lass­ni­ki, but then anoth­er man appeared, who was the chief,» tells Yuliya. «He called the police claim­ing that we entered with­out per­mit. We were going to feed the ani­mals, and we were hor­ri­fied by what we saw – all ani­mals were skin­ny and shagged out. This is what I showed in my stream. As well as the moment of our deten­tion.”

    In a com­ment to Euro­ra­dio, Andrei Bas­tunets says that it is absurd to regard a social net as a mass medi­um. “BAJ is gen­er­al­ly against apply­ing arti­cle 22.9, nev­er mind whether this con­cerns a jour­nal­ist or a reg­u­lar cit­i­zen. As for this sit­u­a­tion, it is absurd. A large num­ber of Belaru­sians use social nets. And we speak not only of streams here. Fol­low­ing this log­ic, every per­son could be held liable for any post that the police does not like.”

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