International Report Demands Radical Reform of Belarus Media

Today, international media and press freedom organisations issued " For

Free and Fair Media in Belarus", 

a report calling for far reaching reforms

of the media in Belarus.



"In

the current environment neither Belarus

journalists nor media outlets can properly operate to investigate and report

freely on events in Belarus,"

said IFJ European Co-Director Marc Gruber, who led a fact-finding mission to Belarus between

20 and 24 September. "A thin veneer of limited and symbolic reforms  in recent months  cannot conceal the fact that Belarus

continues to operate a highly repressive media environment."

A

delegation from the mission is presenting today the report to the Swedish EU

Presidency in Stockholm.  The report provides an overview of the

current media situation and is the result of a joint fact-finding mission to Belarus in September 2009 where delegates

representing international media support and freedom of expression

organisations met with media and the Belarus authorities to discuss

press freedom and the media situation.

This

report calls for a set of reforms dealing in particular with economic

conditions for non-state media, access to information, accreditation of media

and journalists as well as broadcasting licensing

The

mission group prepared the report to ensure that media freedom and journalists'

rights remain top of the agenda at the ongoing EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue.

The EU will soon decide on whether to permanently end sanctions which were

initially imposed on Belarus

due to its poor human rights track-record.

The

report includes recommendations for media reform and expresses the readiness to

co-operate with the authorities and media professionals on the execution of

that reform.  

The organisations that contributed to the

report include:

Article 19, Civil Rights Defenders, Danish Union of Journalists, Index on Censorship, International/European

Federation of Journalists, International

Publishers' Association, International Pen, International Press Institute, Open

Society Institute, PressNow, Reporters Sans Frontieres, World Association

of Newspapers and News Publishers, and International Media Support (IMS).

Full copy of the report: http://www.ifj.org/en/articles/for-free-and-fair-media-in-belarus