Belarusian authorities withdraw accreditation from foreign journalists | Belarus

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Belarusian authorities expelled two Russian cameramen and withdrew the accreditation of several journalists from foreign media, including the BBC, before new protests contesting the presidential election results.

On Saturday, the BBC press team said two journalists working for its Russian service in Minsk had their press credentials revoked “with immediate effect”.

“We condemn in the strongest terms this stifling of independent journalism. We call on the Belarusian authorities to revoke this decision and allow our journalists to continue to do their jobs, ”he tweeted.

“We believe it is vital that the Belarusian people have access to impartial and independent information on the events in their country.”

One BBC journalist to lose her accreditation is Tatyana Melnichuk.

She told Agence France-Presse: “The Belarusian Foreign Ministry called me and informed me that my accreditation and that of one of my colleagues as a BBC correspondent had been canceled. They demanded that I return my card.

Belarusian government spokesman Anatoly Glaz said the decision was made on the recommendation of the country’s counterterrorism unit, AFP reported.

He did not specify the number of journalists affected by the measure, but foreign media, including the BBC and Radio Liberty, reported the withdrawal of the accreditation of several of their journalists.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said she was “deeply concerned about this attack on press freedom”.

“The Belarusian people – and the journalists who courageously share their stories – must not be silenced,” she tweeted.

Two Russian cameramen from ARD TV and a Belarusian producer were also arrested in Minsk on Friday evening before being released again on Saturday.

West German Radio (WDR), which runs the television station, said on Saturday its Russian employees were “on their way to Moscow” after being banned from Belarus for five years, while their producer was to be tried on Monday.

WDR’s program director Jörg Schönenborn called his team’s treatment “absolutely unacceptable”.

“This shows once again that independent reporting in Belarus is becoming more and more difficult and almost impossible,” he said.

“As a public service broadcaster, however, we will not be intimidated and will do everything in our power to ensure that our journalists can continue to report critically and independently on the events, protests and protests in Belarus. “

The Belarusian Association of Journalists appointed the cameramen as Sergey Sergeyev and Mikhail Fomin and the producer as Ilya Kuzniatsou. The Guardian approached Kuzniatsou for comment.

Swedish photojournalist Paul Hansen was given 24 hours to leave the country and was banned for five years on Friday.

He was one of 50 journalists arrested by riot police on Thursday and taken into custody, apparently so their documents could be verified.

Most of the journalists were later released, but four Minsk-based correspondents were detained overnight and appeared in court on Friday on charges of staging illegal protests.

Among them were photographer Alexander Vasukovich and Katsiaryna Andreyeva, journalist of the independent TV channel Belsat.

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