Imprisoned media workers take the spotlight
In Belarus, being a journalist comes with significant risks. Journalists can be arrested, and sometimes sentenced to years in prison. Attracting public attention to ensure they are not forgotten has become an important means of protection. Therefore, in a campaign by the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), you are invited to meet the country’s imprisoned journalists and read about their cases.
Belarus is often referred to as ”Europe’s last dictatorship”. The country is ranked 171 out of 179 states in V-Dem’s “Liberal Democracy Index” and 157 out of 180 on Reporters without Borders “World Press Freedom Index”. Media is largely controlled by the regime through restrictive legislation, and there are ongoing crackdowns on independent media and critical voices.
33 media workers portrayed
Despite the risks, there are people working to get the news stories out to the public. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), media workers risk being stripped of their press accreditation, beaten while covering protests, or arrested due to their critical reporting. Since the fraudulent presidential elections in 2020 and the subsequent crackdown on freedom of expression, journalists have been arrested on more than 500 occasions.
Currently, there are 33 journalists and media workers behind bars. Meet them and read their stories here – Belarusian media workers behind bars. Portraits | baj.media.