2009 30/09

“The human rights organization “Reporters Without Borders” urged the government of Belarus did not hinder the work of journalists of foreign media.

The statement was made shortly after a visit to Belarus of missions of international organizations that defend the rights of journalists, freedom of expression and media development. “Reporters Without Borders” agrees with the following assessment of international experts, made as a result of their five-day trip to Belarus: “The accreditation of Belarusian journalists working for foreign media, as well as registration of bureaus is limited to discriminatory and non-transparent decisions of Belarusian authorities.”

“Reporters” continues: in accordance with the new Belarusian law on mass media on 8 February, in order to work in Belarus foreign media and their journalists should be accredited in the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In practice, it looks like this: the authorities reject or ignore most of the applications and thus compel journalists to work illegally.

“Despite our repeated appeals, the Belarusian authorities continue to exercise dishonesty by denying requests for accreditation to journalists of foreign media,” – said in the statement. “Therefore, we reiterate our call to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explore all these requests and respond to them.”

“Reporters Without Borders” provide for concrete examples. The subject here is the reporters of NTV who were deported from Belarus because of the absence of accreditation. The same happened with the journalists of Radio Racyja and channel Belsat. If journalists continue working activity they will be fined.

As stressed in the statement, “Reporters Without Borders”, Radio Racyja and Belsat are one of the few independent news media in Belarus, and, thus, Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should to do anything to stop the obstacles in their work. According to the Belarusian government it is interested in the “Eastern Partnership” with the EU. Accordingly, the government of Belarus should demonstrate a real commitment to improving the situation of press freedom.

According to “Radio Svoboda”
Ales Leta,
Belarusian Legal Portal

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