Sad record: Belsat TV contributor to face two trials today

Freelance journalist Kastus Zhukouski is accused of violating the law on mass media, i.e. contributing to Belsat TV.

Two administrative cases under Article 22.9(2) of the Administrative Code of Belarus (illegal production and distribution of media products) will be heard today in two different towns. Zhukouski is expected to stand trial in Petrykau district court at 10.45; he will also have to appear before Zhlobin district court at 15.30.

Kastus Zhukouski has hit a record in receiving penalties for working without accreditation in Belarus. Over the last three years, he has been fined 17 times; the total sum reached $6,000.

Belsat TV which has been broadcasting for nine 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.

Since the beginning of the year, a dozen protocols have been drawn upon Kastus Zhukouski.