Politically-motivated harassment of news and opposition website

first_img July 17, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Politically-motivated harassment of news and opposition website Reporters Without Borders condemns the continuing threats against journalists working for the Charter 97 news and opposition website (charter97.org). In the latest case, site editor Natallya Radzina received a threatening email message on 15 July that was prompted by a report about a pro-Russian neo-fascist group.“It is time this persecution stopped,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the government to recognise Charter 97 so that it can file complaints with the police and judicial authorities and obtain redress. If Belarus is to respect its own constitutional principles, it must ensure that this website and its bloggers enjoy freedom of action.”The email that Radzina received on 15 July said: “Achtung (in German), editor Radzina Natallya! (…) You’ve been warned that you should be quiet and not lash out at the patriots of the right.” Threatening violence of a sexual nature, it added: “Don’t you understand the Russian Language?” (See the entire text of the message in English here.)The 8 July report that prompted the threat was about a pardon accorded to a young leader of the neo-fascist Russian National Unity party in the southeastern city of Homyel on the 65th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from German occupation, and the failure of the authorities to curb the RNU’s racist and xenophobic activities. The article, which carried no by-line, was first published on the Belarussky Partisan website.Radzina has often received threats in the past after posting articles criticising the authorities.Access to the Charter 97 website was blocked on 8 June by a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), in which a site is bombarded with a massive amount of connection requests that overload its server.Radzina told Reporters Without Borders at the time: “The site is very popular in Belarus and abroad. We post a lot of articles critical of the government, which gets irritated.” Police overran the Charter 97 offices on 26 April, preventing the editors from updating the website on a day that opposition demonstrations were taking place (http://charter97.org/en/news/2009/4/26/17679/).The Belarusian Internet is dominated by Beltelekom, a state-owned Internet Service Provider, and most websites that report human rights abuses are inaccessible. President Lukashenko promulgated a media law in August 2008 that requires websites to be registered with the information ministry. Since then, their activities have been regulated by decree rather than by law. Article 22 of the constitution nonetheless says that “a state monopoly of the mass media (…) is forbidden” and “censorship is forbidden.”Video of the 26 April demonstrations:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk8I7W0CDMchttp://belarus.indymedia.org/content/guest/16676.flv http://belarus.indymedia.org/content/guest/16669.flv Receive email alerts News News “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says May 28, 2021 Find out more Organisation Follow the news on Belarus BelarusEurope – Central Asia RSF_en center_img to go further News BelarusEurope – Central Asia News RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” Help by sharing this information June 2, 2021 Find out more Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more