The harassment of journalists must stop and all those detained must be immediately released, together with all political prisoners, the European External Action Service said in a statement issued on 19 May, following the latest crackdown on independent media.
On 18 May, the Belarusian authorities targeted the largest independent media outlet Tut.by. At least 15 outlet workers were detained, its domain has been blocked, offices and private apartments of their staff searched, and a criminal case against its leadership opened.
According to EEAS, recent actions against other independent media and journalists, including the detentions of Alexander Burakov, a freelance reporter for Deutsche Welle, Vladimir Laptsevich, a journalist with the online news portal Mogilev Region, Tatyana Kapitonova, a freelance photojournalist, and Lyubov Kasperovich, a Tut.by journalist, detained while covering a court trial, shows the complete disregard by the Belarusian authorities for freedom of expression. “These actions of the Belarusian authorities contradict the core international commitments undertaken by Belarus including within the UN and the OSCE,” says the statement.
The EU also calls for an end to violence and repression against peaceful protesters and various segments of society, including human rights defenders or representatives of minorities, as well as members of the political opposition.
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