Urgent! Belarusian independent media under attack
Belarusian Christian Democrats strongly protest against the persecution of the Belarusian independent media. We believe that the searches and arrests in the offices of information agencies of TUT.by portal and BelaPAN, which started on 7 August 2018, are nothing else than the сase of extreme violation of the right to freedom of speech and harassment of the independent press.
Confirmation of this is the fact that the Belarusian Investigative Committee has formally put forward accusations against three media, including the state journal "Science", but the searches were sanctioned first for the private information media, BelaPAN and TUT.by. Also only the employees of the independent media were taken under arrest. It should be noted that the Investigation Committee violated the presumption of innocence of the journalists by issuing a statement of their guilt.
We demand the immediate release of all those detained and the harassment of independent media be stopped!
BCD co-chairman, Vital Rymasheuski, says: "The current attack on the Belarusian independent media may mean that the authorities are preparing for major political events, as the presidential elections coming in 2020 and a possible referendum, which may bring up the issue of even more integration with Russia, that is, in fact, annexation of Belarus. We should not forget that the Belarusian authorities are trying to destroy not only the independent media, but also the independent trade unions, persecute political and social activists.
The independence and competitiveness of modern states is determined not only military power, but also a strong national competitive business community, a strong civil society. Strong, competitive national media are no less important than a strong economy and army. Hybrid wars have clearly demonstrated: it is almost impossible to resist foreign propaganda without the development of the national media.
Therefore, what is happening in Belarus, could be called an attack on the foundations of state sovereignty and independence. Thus, unfortunately, the policy to increase cooperation with the official Minsk instead of the strengthening of the Belarusian independence is counterproductive. In the absence of any serious international reaction the Belarusian authorities may destroy or take under control of the security services (which is actually the same thing) all independent organisations in the country."
BCD is asking its sister parties and partner organisations for a strong solidarity in actions and support of the Belarusian free media, political and civil activists and organisations.