Media body condemns attacks on journalists in Belarus

Brussels, March 3, IRNA

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Thursday condemned the Belarus authorities following a series of assaults and detentions of journalists who were attempting to report the arrest of opposition candidate Alyaksandr Kazulin.

Kazulin was trying to attend a meeting where President Lukashenko was due to speak when he was attacked and arrested by plain clothes policemen.

According to an IFJ statement, journalists who tried to film and report on the incident were set upon by security forces, severely beaten and several were detained.

"This is a shocking violation of democratic rights", said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "It is a grotesque assault on political rights made worse by the intimidation and violence used against journalists trying to do their job".

"This incident needs to be fully investigated and those responsible for the violence must be dealt with", said White.

The Brussels-based IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.