Last summer journalists of independent media worked in blue waistcoats with the inscription "Press", but by the end of August these waistcoats had to be removed because they became a target, not a protection, according to the article by TUT. BY. Journalists could no longer work openly on the streets, they had to mix with the crowd, hide in porches, hotel rooms and other places
Source: TUT. BY
In 2020, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists:
— journalists were detained 477 times;
— 97 journalists served administrative arrests;
— 62 journalists suffered from the actions of law enforcement officers.
Right now there are 12 journalists behind bars, three of whom have already been convicted. Katsiaryna Barysevich received six months imprisonment, Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova — two years each. Criminal cases against nine others are being investigated.
If we talk only about TUT. BY, their journalists were detained 38 times last year (and Alexei Sudnikov as many as four times!), five of them served administrative arrests. The biggest blow and shock was the criminal case against Katsiaryna Barysevich. She wrote in her article that Raman Bandarenka, who was beaten to death, was sober, which was the reason for the criminal case for "disclosure of medical secrets that caused grave consequences". Katsiaryna was doing her usual journalistic work: checking information. She wrote the truth and did not allow the deceased’s name to be tarnished. Raman’s relatives had no claims against Katsiaryna Barysevich. Meanwhile, she spent behind bars more than five months.
Last year, access to more than 50 socio-political and media websites was blocked, non-state newspapers were prevented from publishing in Belarus, and journalists of foreign publications had their accreditations withdrawn. TUT. BY received four warnings from the Ministry of Information within one month, which became the reason for the regulator to go to court wit a view of withdrawing their media status. This was to be expected.
Article 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. Citizens of the Republic of Belarus are guaranteed the right to receive, keep and disseminate complete, reliable, and timely information about the activities of state bodies, public associations, political, economic, cultural and international life and the condition of the environment.