Monday, March 27, 2017
On March 25th and 26th 2017, Belarusian authorities detained more than 40 journalists and bloggers for covering the violently suppressed rally on Freedom Day in Minsk and regions.

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On March 25th and 26th more than 40 Belarusian and foreign journalists and bloggers were detained, interrogated, beaten and charged with participation in the unsanctioned protests. However their only 'crime' was trying to inform Belarus and the world about the brutal dispersion of peaceful Freedom Day rally and related protests. 
By arresting journalists and bloggers, blocking their web streaming and confiscating their equipment, the Belarusian government is depriving its own population of the right to know and to control the government’s actions.

Stop harassment of journalists

While the majority of journalists and bloggers were released without charges, at least twelve of them are facing trials this week in Minsk, Viciebsk, Biaroza and Orsha. Free Press Unlimited joins the call of 48 advocacy, media and human rights organisations to stop harassment of journalists and human rights defenders in Belarus. We urge the authorities to immediately release and drop the charges against the following detained journalists and bloggers:

  • Alexander Barazenka (Minsk, sentenced to 15 days arrest)
  • Dzianis Ivashyn (Hrodna, detained in Minsk)
  • Raman Pratasevich (Minsk, sentenced to 10 days arrest)
  • Artsiom Sizintsau (Viciebsk)
  • Paval Levinau (Viciebsk)
  • Leanid Svetsik (Viciebsk)
  • Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau (Viciebsk)
  • Maryna Kastylianchanka (Minsk)

We also urge authorities to drop charges against the following journalists, who have been released until their court hearings:

  • Tamara Shchapiotkina (Biaroza)
  • Larysa Shchyrakova (Homiel)
  • Ihar Kazmierchak (Orsha)
  • Maryia Bulavinskaya (Homiel)

Journalism is not a crime

Free Press Unlimited condemns the detention and harassment of more than 40 journalists. Journalism is not a crime, and bringing information to people is indispensable right of the free press. Belarusians deserve to know why people were protesting on Freedom Day (March 25th) and the day after. They also deserve to know how the authorities have treated the protesters.

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