The Association of European Journalists has called for the release of Belarusian journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau and eight others held in jail in connection with their reporting of public protests against the government.
Aliaksandrau – detained since January 12 2021 – is a long-time associate of the AEJ, was a deputy chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists from 2009 to 2012, and is the founder and chief editor of the news website Belarus Journal.
In November 2020 the Belarus Association of Journalists was awarded the prestigious Media Freedom Award from the Global Media Freedom Coalition, now made up of over 40 countries, that was established in 2019 by the UK and Canada. The award citation recognised the BAJ for its commitment to covering human rights and election fraud in the face of violence and threats.
The AEJ previously called for a strong, concerted international response against violent suppression of free media in Belarus, saying on September 3 2020 that the Belarusian authorities’ violent suppression of free media, targeted attacks against journalists, and the denial of accreditations and deportations of large numbers of journalists were aimed at preventing journalists from reporting on legitimate protests against alleged election fraud and other government abuses.
Hundreds of journalists have been arrested in Belarus in a harsh crackdown by the government of President Alexander Lukashenko on mass protests that have continued weekly for five months against August elections widely considered as rigged.
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