Belarus: Union reports ongoing gross rights violations

As ongoing protests over the disputed presidential election result rock Minsk, the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) has reported 160 cases of gross violations of journalists' rights, including arbitrary detentions, fines and beatings since the campaign began. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands in solidarity with its affiliate and urges the Belarussian authorities to free jailed journalists and stop the massive crackdown on media.

A riot policeman pulls a memory card out of a photographer's camera during a protest. Credits: SERGEI GAPON / AFP

According to the BAJ, state pressure on media intensified with the launch of the presidential election campaign on May 8, 2020, and further increased in the final stages of the elections and after the announcement of the disputed result.

At least 19 journalists were detained on election day on Sunday, August 9. The police continue to detain journalists during the follow-up protests. In total, Belarusian law enforcement officials have arrested 65 journalists since the Electiond day.

The BAJ's monitoring reveals that many local and foreign journalists have been sent to serve short terms in prison on trumped-up charges.

In addition to this, at least seven journalists have been severely beaten and injured by police.

The union also reported that the authorities ignored around 30 foreign media journalists' applications for permission to cover the elections and by not responding to them within the 20 days envisaged by the law. The BAJ claimed that the government has intentionally prevented them from working legally.

The IFJ and the EFJ launched a campaign in support of the Belarusian media workers that raised a wave of solidarity among journalists' unions around the world.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "We stand in solidarity with the BAJ and fully support its call on authorities to stop violating media workers' rights and end the violence against them. The government must identify those responsible for these violations and hold them accountable."

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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