European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Articles by European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Law enforcement officers detain a journalist during a Women's Solidarity opposition event, in Minsk, Belarus, 19 September 2020, Natalia FedosenkoTASS via Getty Images

Journalist Andrei Alexandrov was detained on charges of violating public order. He was Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists and has worked for Index on Censorship and ARTICLE 19.

A protester stands in front of a line of riot police and a water cannon, Minsk, Belarus, 27 September 2020, Jana Nizovtseva/Flickr, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

“We urge the IIHF to request the government of Belarus to take concrete steps to ensure greater respect for press freedoms, including the release of the unjustly imprisoned journalists. We ask you to reach out to Lukashenka and strongly urge him to take immediate action to ensure that human rights principles are respected.”

Geybulla has been unjustly accused of betraying her country for taking a measured and journalistic stance in the face of the recent armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

As democracy and the rule of law come increasingly under pressure in a number of EU countries, the undersigned organisations call on EU policymakers to urgently put forward an EU anti-SLAPP Directive to protect public watchdogs that help hold the powerful to account and keep democratic debate alive.

Those who disseminate images with the “intent to cause harm” would face up to one year in prison and fines of up to 45,000 euros.

While police impeded journalists’ work, protesters – which included members of the far right and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists – abused, threatened, chased and physically attacked members of the press.

Press groups call on both states to abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law to protect journalists in situations of conflict and tension.

The recently amended martial law prohibits the publication of reports criticising the actions of the government, officials and local bodies. It also gives increased power to the police to hand out fines, freeze assets and request removal of content from media outlets.