Belarusian authorities have blocked access to a leading online opposition media and detained several journalists.
The website of Nasha Niva, a Belarusian-language media, was inaccessible on Thursday across Europe.
The country’s information ministry confirmed that it had “decided to restrict access” to the website after the Prosecutor General’s office had accused it of posting unspecified unlawful information.
Nasha Niva also reported that it had lost contact with several of its journalists in the country, including its editor-in-chief.
“We cannot contact some editorial staff, including editor-in-chief Ehor Martsinovich,” the website said on Telegram.
“We assume that he may be detained at this time, as readers report that police officers were seen in the building where he was staying.”
Martsinovich’s wife, Adaria Gushtyn, later confirmed her husband’s arrest on Facebook.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists has also stated that the editor of the independent news website orsha.eu was also arrested, while the new technology website dev.by was also blocked.
The moves are the latest in a sweeping crackdown by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on independent media in the country.
Lukashenko’s disputed re-election in August prompted an unprecedented opposition protest movement, which was followed by a harsh crackdown from Belarusian authorities and more than 35,000 arrests. Leading opposition figures have been either jailed or forced to leave the country.
In February, two journalists from the Polish-based opposition TV channel Belsat were sentenced to two years in prison on charges of fomenting “unrest” while covering the protests.
Meanwhile, the independent news website TUT.BY was also blocked in May, and several of its journalists were detained.
Later that month, Belarus also arrested exiled journalist, Roman Protasevich after the airliner in which he was travelling was intercepted over the country’s airspace.
The European Union and the United States have responded to the crackdown by slapping Belarus with sanctions.
On Thursday, leading opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said more than twenty major media in Belarus had been attacked by the regime.
“The regime continues the crackdown on independent media in Belarus,” Tsikhanouskaya said in a video on Twitter.
“I call on the international community to provide practical support for our free media and journalists.”
Source : https://www.euronews.com/2021/07/08/nasha-niva-belarus-blocks-leading-opposition-online-news-website-and-detains-journalists?####news