RSF_en Help by sharing this information News June 2, 2021 Find out more News March 28, 2017 Around 50 journalists arrested in Belarus in space of two days “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says BelarusEurope – Central Asia Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentPhotoreportageExiled mediaPredatorsViolenceImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists May 27, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Belarus May 28, 2021 Find out more Organisation News Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” to go further Credit: Sergei Gapon / AFP Receive email alerts News BelarusEurope – Central Asia Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentPhotoreportageExiled mediaPredatorsViolenceImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a major crackdown on reporters in Belarus – where at least 49 journalists and bloggers were arrested while covering nationwide protests last weekend and at least five have been given jail sentences – and urges the international community to hold the government to account.The arrests on 25 and 26 March have brought the total number of arrests of reporters to around 100 since 10 March, in what is a sharp increase in the scale of the repressive methods being deployed by the authorities in response to a massive wave of anti-government protests.Five journalists were given prison sentences yesterday on charges of hooliganism and participating in unauthorized demonstrations. Like the protests themselves, the crackdown has had no precedent since 2011.“This brutal and systematic police harassment constitutes a blatant violation of media freedom and the Belarusian public’s right to information,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.“We urge the international community to put pressure on the government to immediately release these journalists, who have been arrested just for doing their job, to drop all charges against them and to respect media freedom. These massive abuses underscore the urgent need to strictly condition any rapprochement with Belarus on respect for human rights.”Mass arrestsLast Saturday will be remembered as a black day for media freedom in Belarus. The demonstration that the Belarusian opposition traditionally holds every year on 25 March, the anniversary of the country’s independence in 1918, gained special significance this year because of the current wave of protests.The police used force to disperse the protests throughout the country and arrested hundreds of demonstrators. The Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ), an RSF partner, said at least 26 journalists were arrested in Minsk, four in the southeastern city of Homyel and three in the northeastern city of Vitsebsk Volha Davydava, Ihar Ilyashyn, Katsiaryna Bakhvalava, Volha Morva and British reporter Filip Warwick were beaten by police while covering the demonstration in Minsk.More arrests took place during the next day’s smaller demonstrations. At least 16 journalists were arrested Minsk, Vitsebsk, Babruysk, Brest, Homyel and Orsha.Jailed for doing their jobA court in Minsk yesterday sentenced Alyaksandr Barazenka – a reporter for Belsat TV, a Belarusian exile TV station based in neighbouring Poland – to 15 days in prison on a charge of hooliganism.The court accepted the testimony of a policeman, although video filmed by Barazenka at the time of his arrest on 25 March while covering a demonstration clearly showed that he was just doing his job and that he had identified himself as a journalist.After spending the weekend in police custody, Dzianis Ivashyn, the editor of the InformNapalm news website, was sentenced yesterday to five days in prison for “participating in an unauthorized demonstration.”BAJ members Kanstantsin Mardvintsau and Leanid Svetsik were sentenced in Vitsebsk yesterday to 15 days in prison for “participating in an unauthorized demonstration,” while Artsyom Sizintsau, the local correspondent for Radio Racyja, was sentenced to ten days in prison on the same charge.The unusually large demonstrations have been taking place in Belarus since late February in protest against a new tax on “social parasitism” applicable to anyone working for less than six months a year.President Lukashenko suspended the tax on 9 March but ordered the interior ministry to take “extremely severe measures” against the protest movement’s “instigators” and to restore “perfect order.” The police immediately began dispersing the protests with much more force and the authorities are now accusing “foreign secret services” of trying to destabilize the government.Belarus is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.
By Dialogo January 14, 2011 When a roadside bomb killed 14 Afghan civilians Dec. 30, including women and children, it was clear who was responsible for the blast. Taliban insurgents, under increased pressure from a superior force newly flush with resources and additional troops, rely heavily on the devices to inflict casualties and avoid face-to-face confrontations that could further decimate their ranks. But insurgent bombs have proven more likely to kill or maim civilians than coalition forces. The bombs, commonly called improvised explosive devices – or IEDs – are indiscriminate killers accounting for more than half of insurgent-caused fatalities in Afghanistan. Because they are so widespread and hamper everything from military operations to shopping trips for locals, defeating IEDs is a top priority for the International Security Assistance Force. Yet despite the influx of additional troops and additional counter-IED resources, military leaders acknowledge this is no simple task. While many of the devices are relatively crude, the networks of people responsible for creating IEDs in Afghanistan are complex. “It’s more than just a couple of guys in a garage,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Richard Moorehead, a member of ISAF’s Counter-IED Advisory Plans and Policy Team. “There’s a whole bunch of people behind them making it happen. And you have to figure out, where are the critical points … and where are we going to put our assets to try to stop them?” ISAF is addressing the IED threat from a number of angles. Teams of bomb hunters patrol on foot and in vehicles to find and disable devices. Cameras monitor routes to catch insurgents in the act of burying bombs. Afghan forces are being trained to find, disable and exploit them. But critical to the long-term success of the counter-IED fight is a large-scale effort to attack the networks that supply, build, emplace and trigger them. ISAF’s strategy to degrade IED networks can be likened to the Allied effort in World War II to disable the German war machine by going after key infrastructure and resources such as ball bearing factories and oil fields. Strategic bombing of such targets reduced the Germans’ ability to produce and deploy the weapons they needed to carry out their military campaign. Similarly, targeting IED networks is expected to have a similar impact on the insurgents’ ability to intimidate and kill civilians and threaten coalition and Afghan forces. In counter-IED terms, it’s called targeting the “left of the boom” – eliminating bomb-making personnel and materials before an explosion happens. Some, but not all, personnel in the networks are aligned with the insurgency. There are financiers who pay for materials, often with money from drug or other criminal enterprises; smugglers, many of whom are part of broader criminal syndicates, who ferry bomb materials over the border; planners who pick targets and locations to deploy IEDs; and builders who turn the raw materials into bombs to carry out the planners’ goals. Below them are low-level insurgents and hired help who carry out the more dangerous tasks of emplacing and triggering IEDs, often for small amounts of money or under coercion by higher-level insurgents. ISAF and Afghan security forces are identifying and targeting both the key personnel in these networks and low-level operatives that carry out their plans. Using various intelligence assets, coalition and Afghan forces listen in on their plans, search for telltale signs of production facilities, gather information from informants and glean information from devices found in the field – even those that have gone off. Interdiction efforts have caught some of the raw materials before they make it into insurgent hands. Other security forces actions have led to finds and destruction of bomb-making materials and facilities. Despite successes and optimism about efforts to effectively neutralize the networks, the coalition realizes that it is a very long-term effort to completely defeat the IED threat in Afghanistan. The near-term goal is to reduce the number of IEDs to a level that will allow for continued progress in efforts geared toward reconstruction and development of civil society. In the long term, the threat must be reduced to a level that Afghan forces can manage on their own.