International media and press freedom organisations demand radical reform of media

(IFJ/IFEX) - 16 October 2009 - Today, international media and press freedom organisations issued "For Free and Fair Media in Belarus", a report calling for far reaching reforms of the media in Belarus.

"In the current environment neither Belarus journalists nor media outlets can properly operate to investigate and report freely on events in Belarus," said IFJ European Co-Director Marc Gruber, who led a fact-finding mission to Belarus between 20 and 24 September. "A thin veneer of limited and symbolic reforms in recent months cannot conceal the fact that Belarus continues to operate in a highly repressive media environment."

A delegation from the mission is presenting today the report to the Swedish EU Presidency in Stockholm. The report provides an overview of the current media situation and is the result of a joint fact-finding mission to Belarus in September 2009 where delegates representing international media support and freedom of expression organisations met with media and the Belarus authorities to discuss press freedom and the media situation.

This report calls for a set of reforms dealing in particular with economic conditions for non-state media, access to information, accreditation of media and journalists as well as broadcasting licensing.

The mission group prepared the report to ensure that media freedom and journalists' rights remain on the top of the agenda at the ongoing EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue. The EU will soon decide on whether to permanently end sanctions which were initially imposed on Belarus due to its poor human rights track-record.

The report includes recommendations for media reform and expresses the readiness to co-operate with the authorities and media professionals on the execution of that reform.

The organisations that contributed to the report include:

ARTICLE 19, Civil Rights Defenders, Danish Union of Journalists, Index on Censorship, International/European Federation of Journalists, International Publishers' Association, International PEN, International Press Institute, Open Society Institute, PressNow, Reporters sans frontieres, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, and International Media Support (IMS).

For Free and Fair Media in Belarus

Download: Belarus_Report.pdf (1406 KB)



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