The journalists are facing fines and even prison sentences. The final amount of damage that the editorial staff had allegedly caused to the state enterprise BelTA will be announced later.
Among the accused are 6 employees of the Internet portal TUT.BY, BelaPAN chief editor Iryna Leushyna and international observer Tatsyana Karavenkava, Deutsche Welle journalist Paulyuk Bykowski, editor of the website of the “Belarysy i Rynak” newspaper Alyaksei Zhukau, the BAJ press service reports. All defendants are under the travel ban.
The “BelTA case” began on August 7-9 with the search of the editorial offices of TUT.BY, BelaPAN, other mass media, and the apartments of the journalists involved.
The siloviki detained the Chief Editor of TUT.BY Maryna Zolatava, the editors of the portal: Hanna Kaltyhina, Halina Ulasik and Hanna Yermachonak, the chief editor of BelaPAN Iryna Leushyna and the international observer of BelaPAN Tatsyana Karavenkava, Deutsche Welle’s correspondent Paulyuk Bykowski, editor of the “Belarysy i Rynak” newspaper Alyaksei Zhukau.
The investigative committee accuses journalists of having carried out unauthorized access to the computer information of the state-owned enterprise BelTA. Independent analysts are convinced that the “BelTA case” is an attempt by the authorities to intimidate and take control of the major non-state online media.