The Belarusian authorities have blocked access to another independent online news portal.
“Nascha Niwa” is accused of publishing illegal content, the Ministry of Information announced on Thursday. Since the historic mass protests against the government last year, the Belarusian authorities have taken massive action against media that are not controlled by the state.
There was a police operation in the editorial office of the portal critical of the government, said the human rights organization Wjasna, citing eyewitnesses. The editors said on the Telegram messenger service that they could no longer reach several employees, including editor-in-chief Yegor Martinowitsch. According to his wife Adariah Gushtyn on Facebook, he was arrested.
The editor-in-chief of the independent news website orsha.eu, Igor Kasmerchaka, has also been arrested, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists. In addition, access to the IT online magazine dev.by was blocked.
The head of state Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for almost three decades, was officially declared the winner after the election in August 2020 despite massive allegations of fraud. This triggered historic mass protests that were brutally suppressed by the security forces.
Journalists who reported on the demonstrations have come under increasing pressure in recent months. Several media workers were sentenced to long prison terms. The independent news portal Tut.by was also taken offline in May and several of its employees were arrested on charges of tax evasion. At the end of May, exiled blogger Roman Protassewitsch was arrested after a forced plane landing in Minsk.
noe / cp