Belarus: at least 19 journalists detained on election day

At least 19 journalists were detained and many others were prevented from covering the Belarusian presidential election held on Sunday, August 9. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) in condemning the arrests and violence against media workers.


According to the BAJ live monitoring, at least 19 journalists were detained around election day in Minsk, Vitebsk, Mogilev and Grodno.
In addition to these arrests, the BAJ reported that:

  • Journalists of the Russian TV channel Dozhd (TV Rain) Vladimir Romensky, Vasily Poklonsky and cameraman Nikolai Antipov were brutally detained in Minsk after interviewing presidential candidate SvetlanaTikhanovskaya and were deported from the country. A five-year ban was imposed on the media outlet;
  • Police raided the homes of several journalists;
  • Internet connectivity was disrupted throughout the country, including connections via Telegram and VPN;
  • Unlike in previous elections, only photographers were allowed to go to the polling station where president Alexander Lukashenko was voting. Live broadcast was prohibited;
  • Several journalists were expelled from the polling stations;
  • Associated Press (AP) photographer Mstislav Chernov was brutally beaten by Belarusian security forces and taken to hospital;
  • Maksim Solopov, special correspondent for Meduza in Minsk, was beaten and stopped answering calls shortly after 1 am on August 10;
  • Today, journalists were not allowed to enter the Minsk Press Club for a press conference organized by human rights defenders.

Protests broke out following the release of the official figures of the election and several journalists were violently attacked while covering the mass gatherings.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "We stand in solidarity with the BAJ and all the media workers who suffered brutal repression for simply doing their job of reporting on national elections. We urge the Belarussian authorities to immediately release the arrested journalists and stop the crackdown on media".

Since the beginning of 2020,the BAJ has recorded more than 130 violations of journalists’ rights in Belarus.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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