Nearly 300 journalists have been arrested in Belarus since massive anti-government protests erupted there after the August elections, reporters without Borders (RSF) press freedom organization reported.
President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with a heavy hand for 26 years, remained in power by tampering with the election results and crushing subsequent protests.
In this month, around 85 journalists have been arrested in Belarus so far, RSF said on Wednesday, based on figures from the Belarusian association of journalists. Most of the journalists who have so far been arrested have been released after their papers had been checked.
At least eight journalists are currently in prison. Last Monday, five journalists were sentenced to prison, the non-governmental organization reported. “We call on the authorities to immediately release the imprisoned journalists,” said RSF Director Christian Mihr.
On Tuesday, a court in Minsk ruled that the popular channel Nexta on messaging platform Telegram should be blocked because it would spread extremist material. Nexta has around two million followers and is an important platform for the opposition to distribute information and videos about the anti-government protests.
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