Independent journalist to be tried twice for contributing to Belsat TV

Volha Czajczyc is accused of illegal production and distribution of media products (Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code).

She will have to appear at Dzyarzhynsk district court on December, 6. the woman believes that the protocol was drawn upon her for reporting about a housing conflict in the town of Dzyarzhynsk.

Another administrative case will be considered on December 8 in Leninski district court of Minsk. The freelance journalist is still not aware of the reason for her being summoned to court. It may be contributing to the news story ‘Minsk residents confronting Border Committee overbuilding in city center’ which was aired by Belsat TV in October.

Since the beginning of the year, Belsat TV contributors have paid about $14,000 of fines to the state budget. According to Reporters Without Borders, it is our journalists who are harassed by Belarusian government agencies most.

Belsat TV which has been broadcasting for nearly ten years, has been denied accreditation for its journalists during these very nine years. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly declared that it could not issue any accreditation to Belsat because the journalists working for the TV station … break the law.

Thus, the circle closes: journalists are denied accreditation because they break the law and they break the law, because they work without accreditation that they seek… And it explains the existence of absurdist Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code, which provides punishment for ‘illegal production and distribution of media products’. If you have accreditation, you are allowed be a journalist. If you do not have it – you are outlawed.