INCIDENTS AND THREATS
"Two planes filled with Russian journalists arrived to fill our places in exchange for high salaries," Alyona Martinovskaya, a journalist at Belarus-3, told the Tut.by news agency.
Belarusian authorities restricted access to RFE/RL's Belarus Service website and dozens of others on August 21 in an effort to control information amid postelection protests challenging President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The same day, authorities also expelled two correspondents with RFE/RL's Russian Service, part of "a siege aimed at silencing our coverage," RFE/RL said.
Anastasia Lotareva, editor-in-chief of the Takie Dela newspaper, was fined 200,000 rubles ($2,652) by a district court in Tver after she held a single-person picket in support of journalist Ilya Azar. Police reportedly detained Lotareva four seconds after she began her protest. Azar, a reporter for Novaya Gazeta, was detained in May for holding a single-person picket on behalf of jailed activist Vladimir Vorontsov. (Russian Service)
Ivan Safronov, an adviser to the head of Roscosmos and former Kommersant journalist who is accused of high treason, refused to respond during questioning by security services on August 25, stating that he would provide no testimony until the charges against him are explained. Investigators insisted that Safronov first give evidence, and that charges would be “made concrete” subsequently. (Russian Service)
A Kyiv court has scheduled the first hearing in the case of slain journalist Pavel Sheremet for September 4, in front of a jury. Sheremet was killed by an improvised explosive device planted under his vehicle on July 20, 2016. (Ukrainian Service)
Kyrgyzstan has extradited Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev to neighboring Uzbekistan, despite concern from rights groups that he could be tortured and persecuted. Kyrgyzstan's National Security Committee said the Uzbek government provided assurances that Abdullaev would not be ill-treated or tortured. Abdullaev’s lawyer told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service that his client was tortured while in the Committee’s custody.
Reporters Without Borders has condemned Tajikistan’s refusal to renew the press accreditation of Current Time correspondent Anushervon Aripov, who suggested in a report that Tajik President Emomali Rahmon had begun his reelection campaign prematurely.
“We see [Russian] RT journalists replacing several hundred striking Belarus State TV workers...Russian journalists are spreading Lukashenka’s propaganda…(17’58”)
Hanna Liubakova, the author of this op-ed, is a 2015 Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellow, a joint program of RFE/RL and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.