The Belarusian authorities cracked down on the editorial board of the independent news site Nasja Niva. According to a statement, the country’s Ministry of Information imposed restrictions on access to the site after allegations that it had posted “illegal content”. The site cannot now be accessed from Belarus or from abroad.
Nasja Niva wrote on Twitter that she is not getting many employees, including editor-in-chief Igor Martinovich. According to Martinovich’s wife, her husband was arrested. There must have been several house searches – in the editorial office and the home of the arrested editor-in-chief and another employee.
The raids are the second major crackdown since the authorities put down the news portal tut.by, which had been extensively covering protests in the country after the 2020 presidential election, in May. Journalists working for the news site were arrested during the raid and remain in detention pending trial, The Independent wrote.
Several journalists who wrote about the mass demonstrations last year face long prison sentences under President Alexander Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule.
According to the Belarusian Union of Journalists, the editor-in-chief of the independent news site orsha.eu has also been arrested.
The country’s security services also visited two independent newsrooms in the country – Brestskaya Gazeta and Inter-press – during the day, according to the still-active tut.by’s Instagram account.
In January of this year, Brestskaya Gazeta stopped publishing its paper newspaper, since all the printers that the editors heard about refused to accept orders.
Currently, a total of 27 journalists in Belarus are said to be detained, in prison or awaiting trial, according to the Belarusian Union of Journalists.
Nationwide protests erupted in Belarus after the August 2020 elections, when President Lukashenko was re-elected. During the protests, more than 35,000 people were arrested, and many opposition figures in the country have since been imprisoned, or forced to flee the country. The Independent writes.