OSCE Parliamentary Assembly human rights leaders call on Belarusian authorities to respect media freedom

Third committee officers 101220Kyriakos Hadjiyianni, Michael Georg Link and Kari HenriksenCOPENHAGEN, 16 December 2020 – Taking note of increasing violations of media freedoms in Belarus, the leadership of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee today called on authorities in Minsk to end prosecutions and harassment of media professionals for their journalistic activities.

According to Reporters Without Borders, around 370 media professionals have been arrested since 9 August and eight are still being held. Kyriakos Hadjiyianni, Michael Link and Kari Henriksen stressed the responsibility of the government to provide an enabling space for freedom of expression so that reporters are free to conduct their work and help inform the public.

“With hundreds of press freedom violations in recent months, the environment for media professionals in Belarus has gone from bad to worse since the 9 August election,” said Hadjiyianni, Link and Henriksen in a joint statement today. “The authorities’ crackdown on reporters covering demonstrations has included prosecutions, violence and searches, as well as throttling the internet and disrupting distribution of newspapers. This media crackdown is unacceptable and must end. We urge authorities to provide journalists with a safe working environment and release those who are in detention.”

The committee leaders recalled the recommendations of the OSCE Rapporteur’s Report under the Moscow Mechanism on Alleged Human Rights Violations related to the Presidential Elections of 9 August 2020, and reiterated the need for Belarus to review criminal and administrative decisions taken against journalists and to prosecute those accused of press freedom violations in accordance with international standards.

Hadjiyianni, Link and Henriksen are the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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