16 April 2021
On the occasion of the Annual Congress of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, I would like to express our solidarity with all the journalists of Belarus, who continue to carry out their vital work under extremely challenging circumstances. It is thanks to your courage and commitment that the world knows about the atrocities committed by the Belarusian authorities against their citizens prior to and in the aftermath of the fraudulent presidential elections in August 2020.
Belarusian journalists have already been working in extremely difficult conditions for over two decades, facing persecution, detention, and being forced out of their profession by intimidation and threats, yet they have courageously continued their reporting in spite of the risks associated with it. Our thoughts go to all journalist colleagues currently imprisoned in Belarus, including brave women journalists Daria Chultsova, Katsiaryna Andreeva, Katsiaryna Barysevich, and journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau, who used to work with us in London, and who we know as a committed and passionate professional. We will continue to raise awareness about their situation and advocate for their immediate release.
Dear Belarusian friends, your courage sets an example for all of us who defend freedom of expression across the globe. Your dedication to the journalistic profession is inspiring, and ARTICLE 19 greatly admires your determination to fight for press freedom despite the risks you face. We cannot be there with you on this important day, but I would like you to know that we will always stand by your side, and by the side of the Belarusian people fighting for their rights. Thank you for all your incredible work, it is
an honour to be among your partners.