Streaming protests: Belarusian reporters behind bars
In Minsk, two journalists from the Polish-based broadcaster Belsat have been sentenced to two years in prison on charges of organising protests against the head of state Alexander Lukashenka. Yekaterina Andreyeva and Darya Chulsova had reported on an opposition demonstration via livestream in November. Commentators provide details and background info.
Pro-regime youth passing judgment on their peers
Novaya Gazeta's Belarus correspondent Irina Chalip draws attention to a remarkable detail:
“The judicial staff who sent the two young journalists to prison are all between 22 and 31 years old. ... This means that at the same time as the fearless students who went out to demonstrate are now in custody or looking for work after being exmatriculated for political reasons, a 'Hitler Youth' has been created that is willingly putting its peers behind bars in expectation of praise and rewards. 'Can't you see that you're being taken advantage of?' Yekaterina Andreyeva's husband, Igor Ilyash, asks this youth on Facebook. ... 'You're being tied with blood to a dying system.' No, they don't understand. Because this 'Hitler Youth' is being used by experienced 'party comrades' who know very well how to instrumentalise them to their own advantage.”
A Polish issue too
Bartosz Wieliński, Gazeta Wyborcza's chief foreign policy editor, is outraged by Warsaw's silence:
“The TV channel was founded in Poland to offer Belarusians condemned to propaganda consumption an alternative, free media outlet. For many years it has also been financed by Polish taxpayers. So how the Lukashenko regime treats the Belsat journalists is also our concern. I am ashamed of the current Polish government, which didn't react to the outrageous and absurd decision of the Minsk court. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki remains silent on the issue - even though six months ago, when the whole world was watching the demonstrations in Belarus, he was happy to be photographed with opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.”