Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Belarus

The authoritarian regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko made a few concessions this year while trying to improve relations with the U.S. and the European Union. Authorities reversed their repressive stance in several high-profile cases, including dropping criminal defamation charges against one journalist and allowing Irina Khalip, a reporter serving a suspended jail term, to travel outside Belarus. The KGB also announced that it would not file charges against a journalist who was accused of complicity in an illegal border crossing in what became known as the "teddy bear case." Critics of the government warned the EU that Lukashenko was not implementing liberal reforms but merely trading "hostages" in exchange for the EU's easing of political and economic sanctions. Reports by a local press freedom group, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, supported the accusations: Authorities continued to harass Khalip, detained independent journalists, and denied accreditation to critical broadcasters and several local journalists. A court declared that a press photo album contained extremist materials and ordered it destroyed. Lukashenko instructed KGB's digital arm, the Operative Analytical Center, to intensify its control over the Web, saying that the media and social networks had the capacity to destabilize the country.

February 12, 2014 1:25 AM ET

Statements   |   Belarus

Belarus must lift all restrictions on Irina Khalip

New York, July 17, 2013--As a court prepares to review the case of Belarusian journalist Irina Khalip on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on local authorities to end their persecution of Khalip and allow her return to a free life.

July 17, 2013 4:19 PM ET

Also Available in
Русский

Tags:

Case   |   Belarus

Belarus police briefly detain two reporters at a rally

Police in Minsk on April 26, 2013, detained for three days two reporters for the Poland-based Radio Racyja, according to the local press. The journalists, Gennady Barbarich and Aleksandr Yaroshevich, were taken into police custody on disobedience charges after reporting on a state-authorized rally, called Chernobylskiy Shlyakh, in commemoration of the April 1986 nuclear plant explosion in Chernobyl.

Blog   |   Belarus

Archaic court ruling in Belarus as photo book banned

The cover of the Belarus Press Photo Album. (AP)

Thursday's court ruling in the western Grodno region of Belarus is not befitting a modern European country, where servants of justice--prosecutors and judges--are expected to ensure protection for press freedom and human rights. Instead, it is reminiscent of medieval Europe, where dissent was declared heresy and ordered destroyed.

The Oshmyansky District Court ruled that the 2011 edition of the Belarus Press Photo album contained extremist materials that "deliberately contort" social, economic, and political life in the country. Belarus Press Photo is an independent press photography contest that aims to support, promote, and develop local photojournalism, according to its mission statement.

Alerts   |   Belarus

Belarusian authorities push Khalip to go into exile

Irina Khalip has long been subjected to harassment. (Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko)

New York, February 19, 2013--Belarusian authorities must stop harassing Irina Khalip and trying to force the prominent Novaya Gazeta reporter into exile, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement today.

On Monday, Aleksandr Kupchenya, head of the corrections department of the Minsk City Police Directorate, told Khalip that she should use the opportunity of her travel ban being temporarily lifted to leave the country permanently, she told the Minsk-based Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ).

February 19, 2013 4:45 PM ET

Tags:

Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press in 2012: Belarus

President Aleksandr Lukashenko presided over one of the world's most censored nations, continuing policies that sought to suffocate critical journalism and dissenting opinion. At least four reporters, all of them known for critical coverage, were barred from traveling outside the country in March. Another four reporters were jailed during the year, while numerous others faced threats, harassment, fines, and assaults. The government's repressive practices were illustrated by its harsh reaction to a Swedish ad agency stunt in which hundreds of teddy bears pinned with press freedom slogans were airdropped over the country. The KGB jailed one reporter who covered the stunt, and interrogated and fined two others who published photos and stories about the airdrop. The episode led to the sacking of top army generals and a foreign minister, along with the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador. The country grew increasingly isolated during the year. In February, the government expelled Polish and European Union ambassadors after the EU widened travel bans against Belarusian officials due to the country's human rights failures. Lukashenko himself was subjected to an embarrassing travel restriction: He was barred from the 2012 Olympic Games in London because of an EU travel ban imposed after Minsk harshly cracked down on election protests in December 2010. In September 2012, the country's parliamentary election was marred by reports that election officials obstructed opposition candidates seeking to register, that state-controlled media refused to grant opposition candidates equitable coverage, and that the KGB cracked down on online activists. Throughout the year, critical media--both local and international--faced domestic blocking online, denial of accreditation, and distribution hurdles.

February 14, 2013 12:05 AM ET

Blog   |   Belarus

Travel leave for Belarusian reporter no change of heart

In an unexpected development reported in the press today, Belarusian authorities temporarily lifted a travel ban on Irina Khalip, prominent journalist and reporter for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The restriction, which includes a weekly check-in with district police and a requirement to spend every night in her Minsk apartment, was part of a suspended two-year prison sentence handed to Khalip in May 2011 on fabricated charges of mass disorder in connection to her reporting on presidential elections.

Blog   |   Belarus

Lukashenko can unshackle Khalip, a 'victim of the regime'

Irina Khalip speaks on her phone outside a Minsk courthouse in May 2011. (AFP/Viktor Drachev)

Is Irina Khalip, the prominent Belarusian journalist, free to travel? President Aleksandr Lukashenko, whose government prosecuted her on bogus charges of creating mass disorder, says that she is. That Khalip has not, the president said, shows that she would prefer to be known as a "victim of the regime." Of course, this all seems strange considering that Khalip's sentence requires her to be home by 10 p.m. daily.

Blog   |   Belarus, CPJ, Philippines, Russia

Twenty-three days to take action against impunity

Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joins freedom of expression advocates worldwide in a 23-day campaign to dismantle one case at a time a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to gag journalists, bloggers, photographers and writers, while keeping the rest of us uninformed.

Alerts   |   Belarus

AP, Reuters journalists beaten, detained in Belarus

AP photographer Sergei Grits. (AP/Vasily Fedosenko)

New York, September 18, 2012--Authorities in Belarus must immediately investigate the attack and detention of at least seven journalists reporting on a protest in downtown Minsk today and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Agents in plainclothes repeatedly hit several journalists covering an opposition protest organized by activists calling for a boycott of Sunday's parliamentary vote, according to news reports. Sergei Grits, a photographer for The Associated Press, said his face was covered with blood after one of the assailants punched him and broke his glasses, according to AP.

More documents on Belarus »

Social Media

View all »