Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Belarus4 November 2005

A Polish journalist again threatened with prosecution

A Polish-language journalist in Belarus, Andrzej Pisalnik, has been threatened with legal action for supposedly affronting Belarusian citizens.

An official of the public prosecutor’s office in Grodno’s Leninski district handed a formal caution to Pisalnik at his home on 2 November for “affronting the national honour” and also “the dignity” of Belarusian citizens and Josef Lucznik, representative of the Union of Poles in Belarus, in an article headed “Lukashenko’s Poles” in the Polish-language Belarusian weekly Glos znad Niemna on 22 September.

Pisalnik had accused the authorities of stage-managing a meeting of the Union of Poles to ensure Lucznik, who is very close to the government, was elected as leader.

If he wrote another such article, the journalist would be prosecuted under article 130 (1) of the criminal code, which provides for a fine or up to five years imprisonment for “affronting national honour and dignity.”

-  - - - - —

Harassment of Polish journalists and media continues

27 october 2005

Andrei Pochobut, editor of Magazyn Polski, was arrested in the northwestern city of Grodno, near the Polish border, on 20 October. He was freed a few hours later and forbidden to leave Belarus.

“For the umpteenth time, the Polish-language media are at the heart of the political crisis between Poland and Belarus,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “17 journalists from the country’s Polish minority have been arrested in the past three months. The media must not be made to pay for this political crisis,” it said.

Pochobut was questioned at the city’s Leninski police station about the latest issues of the weekly Polish-language magazine Glos znad Niemna and police sought to check it was being legally published. He was then taken to nearby Shchuchyn and questioned about a criminal matter. He refused to sign a promise not to leave the region.

The state-controlled cable network provider Garant, in the Grodno area, cut off access to the very popular Polish TV station TVP1, one of Poland’s main public stations, on 24 October, on orders from the information minister.

This happened a few weeks after the station decided to put out a new half-hour weekly programme called Belarus Today and opened an office in Grodno to produce regular programmes, local journalist Andrzej Pisalnik told Reporters Without Borders.

“The authorities have moved quickly against press freedom to stop people in Grodno from getting non-censored news,” Pochobut said.

TVP1 journalist Agnieszka Romaszewska was arrested on 27 July when she arrived in Shchuchyn. Police claimed she did not have the required Belarusian foreign ministry accreditation.

Political tension between Belarus and Poland increased during the summer when Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused the United States, with help from Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, of trying to overthrow his regime. Polish and Belarusian diplomats were then expelled from each other’s countries.

  In this country
6 March - Belarus
Call for end to unofficial ban on foreign journalists
26 February - Belarus
Judge orders two issues of cultural magazine seized and destroyed
29 January - Belarus
In show of bad faith, government again refuses to issue press accreditation to Radio Racyja journalists
27 November - Belarus
Amid signs of tentative liberalisation, government urged to do more and to resist temptation to control Internet
26 September - Belarus
Media coverage of election campaign ignores political debates and opposition

in the annual report
Belarus - Annual Report 2008
Belarus - Annual report 2007
Belarus - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives