Kyiv (Ukraine), Jul 22 (AP): Authorities in Belarus have moved to outlaw the nation’s main journalists’ affiliation, a part of a sweeping crackdown on unbiased media and civil society activists within the ex-Soviet nation.
The Justice Ministry on Wednesday requested the nation’s highest courtroom to close the Belarusian Association of Journalists, or BAJ, over alleged flaws in workplace lease paperwork. BAJ mentioned it could not present the required paperwork to answer the complaints as a result of its headquarters have been sealed since a police raid final week.
“It’s a total mopping-up operation. The Justice Ministry isn’t even trying to respect decorum,” Andrei Bastunets, the pinnacle of the organisation, mentioned. “Even though the situation seems desperate, we will defend BAJ by legal means.” The affiliation was created in 1995 and at the moment contains 1,204 journalists. It is the most important and essentially the most revered media affiliation in Belarus, and a member of the International Federation of Journalists.
The transfer to close BAJ down comes amid a relentless clampdown on unbiased media within the nation. BAJ mentioned authorities have performed 67 raids of media places of work and journalists’ residences over the past two weeks, whereas 31 journalists are in custody both awaiting trial or serving jail sentences.
On Monday, authorities froze the financial institution accounts of the Belarusian PEN Center, an affiliation of writers led by Svetlana Alexievich, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature.
Alexievich, a member of the opposition Coordination Council, left Belarus final yr after being summoned for questioning by the state investigative company.
Belarus was rocked by months of protests after President Alexander Lukashenko’s August 2020 election to a sixth time period in a vote that the opposition and the West noticed as rigged.
Belarusian authorities responded to opposition demonstrations with an enormous crackdown that noticed greater than 35,000 folks arrested and hundreds crushed by police.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko’s principal challenger within the August 2020 election, who was pressured to depart Belarus beneath official strain after the election, visited the United States this week for conferences with Biden administration officers and US lawmakers to rally assist for the Belarusian opposition.
“We had talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed how important it is to support Belarusian journalists and human rights activists now,” Tsikhanouskaya mentioned in a video assertion. “The people of Belarus expect a resolute US action. The stronger the measures to pressure the regime will be, the faster they will achieve their goal.” (AP) DIV DIV
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