Defending the rights of journalists and improving public scrutiny
Democracy cannot function without citizens' access to true and reliable information on society, the state and the world. For there to be such access, there have to be free and pluralistic media and mechanisms for obtaining information about the activities of the state authorities.
Defending the rights of journalists
Belarus' relentless persecution of journalists started long before the 2020 presidential elections. More than 30 journalists and media workers are incarcerated at the moment, major media outlets and news portals were shut down, classified as ‘extremists’, and forced into exile. The authorities continue to interfere with the freedom to impart information by toughening the laws and persecuting those providing information to the media.
We help independent journalists and media defend the freedom of expression. We have already filed communications with the UN Human Rights Committee on the following subject matters:
- a journalist investigation on corruption classified as defamatory material;
- denial of access to data on the death toll associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which the state had classified;
- a journalist investigation classified ‘extremist’ content;
- all content put out by the media outlet classified as ‘extremist’.
Public scrutiny of the state
We also seek public access to all court decisions (at least the anonymised ones). This would allow us to monitor the work of the courts and have predictable enforcement. That is why we initiated the trial after the refusal of the Supreme Court to provide our lawyer with a copy of an anonymised decision on a high-profile criminal case. After the exhaustion of domestic remedies, we filed a communication with the UN Human Rights Committee.