IFJ Fears for Fate of Belarus Journalists as Four More Arrested During Minsk Election Protests

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined protests by its affiliate, the Belarus Association of Journalists, condemning the systematic arrest and intimidation of journalists in Belarus.

Four more journalists were arrested overnight as the police rounded up demonstrators in Kastrychnitskaya Square protesting against the election, bringing the number of journalists arrested in the past two weeks to 23.

“Journalists are being systematically targeted by a government determined to suppress all independent reporting of the elections and the current protests”, said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “These are the acts of an intolerant authoritarian government which pleads innocent of election fraud while simultaneously arresting anyone attempting to investigate that fraud.”

Since 14 March, 20 Belarus journalists have been arrested and 16 remain in prison; the arrests of two foreign journalists have been confirmed and it is believed that a freelance Canadian journalist was arrested last night in Kastrychnitskaya Square. A full list of detained journalists provided by the Belarus Association of Journalists is attached.

Meanwhile, the IFJ fears the situation could escalate as further demonstrations are planned in Minsk on Saturday 25 March.

“It is essential that the authorities act with calm and restraint and allow journalists to perform their duties and report on important events in their country,” said Arne Konig, Chair of the European Federation of Journalists. “We also call on the president to fully investigate all killings and violence against journalists in Belarus in recent years and to establish normal working conditions for our colleagues.”

For further information contact the IFJ: +32 2 235 2204

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries