NEWS published on 18 Feb 2021

EBU calls on Belarus to end press crackdown and free jailed journalists 

The EBU is extremely alarmed by the intensifying of attacks on press freedom in Belarus.

Today, a journalist and camerawoman working for Belsat, a subsidiary of our Polish Member TVP, were jailed for two years for reporting on protests.

Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova were accused of the ‘organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order’ while covering a rally in Minsk.

EBU Director General Noel Curran said: “We are extremely concerned that journalists are being jailed for simply doing their jobs – ensuring people have access to independent news and information.”

Today’s verdict follows police raids on the homes of journalists and media workers earlier in the week. Law enforcement officers searched the offices of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, seizing equipment and documentation, as well as searching the homes of its key staff.

Since August 2020, around 400 journalists, representing both foreign and local media outlets, have been apprehended or assaulted while reporting on protests throughout the country.

Noel said: “Freedom of the press is a fundamental human right and it is extremely alarming to see how authorities in Belarus are violating international laws by continuing to try and repress free speech and deny their citizens access to information of public interest.

“We call on authorities to release Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova immediately and allow the media to report freely without fear of persecution.” 

The EBU recently met with the OSCE to discuss media fredom across the region and the importance of safeguarding free speech in Belarus.