OSCE media freedom representative says Belarus government should stop harassment of journalists

The FINANCIAL -- VIENNA. Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, said on April 5 she is concerned about persistent reports that pressure is mounting against domestic and foreign journalists in Belarus.

In a letter sent in recent days to Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, she appealed to the government’s “wisdom and understanding to change these unacceptable practices toward media”.

“The authorities continue to intimidate and harass critical media. This worrisome trend, which strengthened after the 19 December 2010 presidential election, has reached a critical point. These actions are a flagrant violation of Belarus OSCE commitments,” said Mijatovic.

In her letter, Mijatovic listed cases where journalists and media were subject to pressure and said she was gravely concerned about "criminal investigations against journalists Irina Khalip and Natalia Radina."

She also referred to the rejected legal appeal of broadcaster Avtoradio aimed at reinstating its broadcasting license, and to the failure of Narodnaya Volya newspaper to annul a warning by the Ministry of Information.

Mijatovic also raised several cases of imprisonment of Belarusian and Russian journalists and a charge of “insulting the president” brought against Andrzej Paczobut, a journalist working for the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.


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