The American news agency Associated Press (AP) called on the Belarusian authorities to restore the accreditation of their expelled journalists.
Earlier, the press service of the Russian Embassy in Minsk reported that two Russian journalists working for AP were deprived of their accreditation and deported from Belarus. The agency confirmed this information, specifying that its employees were informed by the government of Belarus that their journalistic powers had been revoked.
“The Associated Press condemns in the strongest terms this blatant attack on press freedom in Belarus. AP calls on the Belarusian government to restore the powers of independent journalists and allow them to continue to inform the world about the facts of what is happening in Belarus, ”said AP Media Relations Director Lauren Easton.
The European Federation of Journalists also condemned the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic to revoke the accreditation of journalists.
Earlier, Telegram channels, including the channel of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, reported that 10 more Western media journalists working in Belarus were deprived of their accreditation. Earlier on Saturday, the press service of the Russian embassy reported that four Russian journalists working for Western media (for the Associated Press and the German ARD TV channel) had been stripped of their accreditation and deported from Belarus. In particular, the interdepartmental commission on countering extremism revoked the accreditation of the correspondents of the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty, RIA Novosti reports.
In addition, it is reported that two journalists who worked for the BBC have been denied accreditation. In addition, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the country’s Foreign Ministry canceled accreditation for employees of Reuters, Associated Press, German newspaper Deutsche Welle, French radio RFI.
On August 27, mass detentions of journalists took place in Minsk on Freedom Square before another protest rally. Correspondents and operators were taken to the police department to check their accreditation. After that, some of them were deported from the republic.
Russian diplomats were involved in this case: the Russian embassy in Minsk and the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova. The consul arrived at the police station to sort out the case with the arrests.
In particular, the detained journalists of the Izvestia Information Center Elnar Bainazarov, Ruslan Smykov and cameraman Alfred Oya were sent on August 28 to the border of Russia and Belarus. They have already returned to their homeland.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, 114 protesters and about 50 journalists were detained on Friday.
Since August 9, mass protests have not stopped in Belarus. On that day, presidential elections were held. According to the Central Election Commission, Alexander Lukashenko won for the sixth time.
Citizens who disagreed with the election results began to take to the streets. They faced opposition from security officials. There were casualties on both sides, and several civilians were killed.