Freedom of the press in Belarus Fact Sheet

BELARUS

This fact sheet provides a brief overview of the current state of press freedom in the Republic of Belarus.

This document includes examples of press freedom violations and other threats that journalists face in their pursuit of the truth.

Belarus has long been considered “Europe’s last dictatorship” because of the lack of democratic values and respect for fundamental rights. The fundamental rights and freedoms of a person, including freedom of speech and expression, are protected under Article 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. While Belarus’ constitution prevents censorship, the notion and definition of censorship is unspecified and press freedom is de facto severely constrained.  

State-owned media [in Belarus] report to the president, and intimidation and suppression of independent media are common.  

Since 2009 there has been increasing state control over the media. Licensing and registration procedures for media have become rather politicised in Belarus, while all media outlets, including websites, need to either register to government outlets or face blockage.

As of June 2023, following government monitoring, more than 9,000 websites, including new sites and information pages, were blocked in Belarus. 

Journalists in Belarus are persecuted and detained for covering ‘unauthorised protests’ or collaborating with unregistered media firms. The list of detained and imprisoned journalists in Belarus is constantly growing, while violation of freedom of speech and expression as well as access to information rights is deteriorating.

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