PPF condemns fine imposed on Belarusian journalist

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PPF condemns fine imposed on Belarusian journalist

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has expressed concern over the decision of the Smalyavichy court to fine journalist Volha Czajczyc.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter to Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus has demanded immediate withdrawal of the fine against the Belsat TV journalist and has urged Belarusian authorities to stop targeting journalists for their work.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Judge Alyaksandr Kazlouski has imposed a fine of 1,225 Belarusian rubles on journalist Volha Czajczyc for covering a protest by local residents.

This is the ninth time this year that Volha Czajczyc has been punished for doing her job, and has been fined a total of 8,452.5 rubles (around $4,200). She was fined seven times last year.

According to BAJ, Belsat staff is often on trial for illegal distribution of media materials under Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code and for working without approval. In 2017, Belsat contributors paid a total of $14,000 in fines to the government.

94% of the fines for supposed illegal production of media materials were imposed on Belsat journalists, reported BAJ.

The Foreign Ministry of Belarus has stated that journalists working for Belsat TV always break the law and it could not issue any certification to them.

Belarusian authorities have imposed a total of $30,000 in the way of fines on journalists this year.