Reporters Without Borders decry latest crackdown on media in Belarus

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Belarusians Protest

The media freedom NGO Reporters Without Borders has denounced the latest crackdown on journalists by the authoritarian government of President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus.

Weekly newspaper Novy Chas had its editorial office and the homes of two of its employees raided on Wednesday, the organization announced in Berlin on Monday.

“In Belarus today, no one who moves even one centimetre outside the paths set by the regime is safe,” said Reporters Without Borders executive director Christian Mihr, describing Lukashenko as one of the biggest enemies of press freedom worldwide and someone who not only targeted journalists but also their families.

Lukashenko has been cracking down on dissent and press freedom since mass protests broke out against his rule last year following a rigged presidential election that he won in a landslide.

According to Reporters Without Borders, 29 members of the media are currently in prison, and about 500 have been detained at various points in the past 14 months. Many have fled abroad for fear of persecution and now work from there.

More than 100 Telegram channels have been classified as extremist by the Lukashenko regime, in an attempt intimidate its users. The app is the most popular means of communication for Lukashenko’s critics.

“The international community must use all means to ensure that these crimes on the edge of the EU do not go unpunished,” Mihr demanded. “This dictator and all others responsible must be brought to justice.”

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