Poland’s MFA demands explanation over labelling TV Belsat activity as ‘extremist’

The recognition of Belsat's journalistic activity on the internet as extremist is another element of the Minsk government's campaign targeted at independent media and circles of different political views, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced on Wednesday.

The ministry expressed concern about the decision of the Belarusian court on the matter and has asked Minsk for an explanation.

According to the Polish MFA, "the restrictions on independent media and freedom of speech fit into the mechanisms of growing repression and intimidation of the society, which is unacceptable by the international community."

"Belsat has an established position and a solid reputation as a carrier of independent and reliable information for the Belarusian society. Any attempts to limit its activities meet with our unequivocal opposition," stated the ministry.

It also called on Minsk "to respect freedom of speech, independent media and the status of journalists."

On Tuesday, the Belarusian Interior Ministry announced that the website of the Minsk-independent TV broadcaster Belsat and its social networks had been recognised as “extremist.”

“The information resources of the Polish television Belsat were considered extremist. Such a decision was announced on July 27 by a court in Gomel. The basis was the inspection materials of the Main Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption (HUBAZiK) in the Gomel region,” the press release said.