PRAGUE, March 30, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors' Forum have called on President Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus to release all journalists arrested following his disputed reelection this month.
In a letter to Lukashenka, the press groups said the arrests were an "abuse of power." They also called on Belarusian authorities to end attacks on independent media.
The letter expressed support to the Belarusian media for their "courageous efforts to continue reporting on the crackdown on opposition supporters by security forces."
According to the Belarusian Journalists Association, 28 Belarusian journalists have been detained since the March 19 election. Several foreign journalists were also detained.
The Paris-based WAN represents 18,000 newspapers worldwide. The WEF is the editors' organization within the newspaper association.