During the six weeks following the presidential election over 170 journalists were detained. There were 52 cases where journalists faced beatings and damage to (or seizure of) their equipment. Two journalists were wounded.
Some journalists were released after document checks, others were charged with “participation in an unauthorised mass action”, one will be deported.
Internet users have had no access to multiple news websites, including that of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. The circulation of print media has also been disrupted, with the authorities claiming that there are problems with the printing presses.
“They started hitting me right away. There was a woman. In uniform. I don’t know what kind of uniform it was, I don’t remember. She was a wardress. She beat all the girls.”
Since the start of the presidential election campaign, 43 journalists have been arrested while doing their work.
At least 14 journalists were arrested whilst covering the recent public protests in Belarus; some were also assaulted by the police.
The use of fines to target independent journalists is an increasing trend in Belarus, growing from ten fines imposed in 2016, to 69 in 2017, to 48 by mid-May 2018.
On the one-year anniversary of the death of popular Cambodian activist Kem Ley, civil society organisations from around the world reiterated their call for an independent inquiry.