Belsat TV host to stand trial in Hrodna

Pavel Mazheyka, the host of Belsat TV program Intermarium, received a summons to court and protocol on Thursday.

According to the protocol made by police officer Vadzim Nalivayka, our colleague is charged with illegal production and distribution of media products (Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code) for livestreaming the public event on March, 25 in Hrodna. The trial will start at 14:00 on May, 14.

“The authorities cannot live without resorting to force. The Freedom Day rally was authorised: its participants were joyful and relaxed, the atmosphere was great. But Belarusians should not forget that a police baton is always close to them. Observing the events in hrodna and Minsk on March, 25, I had a feeling that we were allowed as much freedom as the authorities wanted to give, until they said ‘Take them!’ Today, when receiving the protocol and the summons, I feel the same,” Mazheyka said.

On May 7, a Minsk court fined Belsat TV contributors Lyubou Lunyova, Syarhei Krauchuk, Katsyaryna Andreyeva, Iryna Arakhouskaya, Maryia Artsybashava and Ales Barazenka for violation of the law on media, i.e. for work without accreditation, the OSCE representative recalled. The fines totalled to BYN 6,000 (nearly $3,000).

During the current year, nearly 40 fines have been imposed on Belsat TV journalists and contributors. They will have to pay over 30,000 Belarusian rubles to the state budget.

According to Reporters Without Borders, it is our journalists who are harassed by Belarusian government agencies most. In 2017, Belsat TV journalists paid over $ 14,000 of fines. 94% of fines for the so-called illegal production of media products fell on Belsat TV contributors, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) reported.