Media Crackdown In Belarus. More Independent Journalists Detained

More journalists were detained in Belarus on Wednesday and Thursday for questioning. They are accused of alleged illegal access and usage of information from the state-run news agency, BelTA.

An unprecendented wave of journalists’ detentions that started on Tuesday, 7 August, swept Belarus this week.

At least eight journalists of various independent-media organisations remain in detention, so far.

7 August

  • Marina Zolotova, TUT.BY editor-in-chief ,

  • Anna Kaltygina, the editor of the news department,
  • Galina Ulasik, the duty editor;

She has been released from a temporary detention facility in Minsk on 9 August.

  • Anna Ermachenok, TUT.BY journalist,
  • Tatyana Korovenkova, BelaPAN reporter.

TUT.BY journalists Dmitry Bobrik and Uliana Boboed were released after questioning and signing a non-disclosure agreement.

Read also: Belarus slips to 155th place in World Press Freedom Index – Reporters Without Borders

8 August

  • Realt.by editor-in-chief Vladislav Kuletsky and journalists Igor Khmara, Maria Soroka, Elena Maslovskaya were detained and released later in the day,
  • Alexei Zhukov, the editor of Belmarket website was detained for three days.

His wife Arina Semychkina was released after signing a non-disclosure agreement.

  • Olga Bykovskaya, the Belarusian business newspaper journalist,
  • Pavlyuk Bykovsky, Deutsche Welle reporter, was detained for three days.

9 August

  • Irina Levshina, BelaPAN editor-in-chief

She was detained on Thursday, 9 August. Her telephone is switched off.

At the moment, Levshina is waiting for interrogations. The Belarusian Investigative Committee is searching her apartment.

Besides, eyewitnesses reported the police raids in Kultura newspaper. The claim remains the same – illegal access to BelTA news.

Global response

International organizations, human rights activists, local authorities and foreign media expressed their concern and condemned journalists detentions.

The Europen Union (EU) called on Minsk to free journalists, stressing that such actions are in contradiction with Belarus’ international commitments.

Read also: 15 very sad facts about life in Belarus you had no idea about

The American, British, Swedish and Lithuanian diplomats visited TUT.BY to talk to its founder Yury Zisser, and express their support.

The EU delegation in Minsk promised to keep a close eye on the situation and showed their readiness to provide any help neccessary.

Preview picture by Sasha Chebotarev