Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, condemned on Wednesday the sentencing of Belarusian journalist Alyaksandr Barazenka.
A district judge in Minsk sentenced Mr. Barazenka to 11 days in jail on January 9, one day after he was arrested while filming a one-man protest in front of the headquarters of the Committee for State Security (KGB) in the Belarusian capital.
The journalist was found guilty of participation in an unauthorized demonstration.
"Belarus continues to prevent journalists from covering public protests. The Government should allow journalists to cover any political event, whether officially sanctioned or not, for the sake of society’s right to know", said Ms. Mijatovic. "I call on the authorities to release Barazenka and stop harassing him and other journalists".
During his protest on the steps of the KGB office at around 4:30 p.m. on January 8, Mikita Kavalenka, a member of a group called European Belarus, unfolded images of Belarus' political prisoners and the historically national white-red-white flag. Minutes into the event, a group of men ran out of the building and grabbed the activist and Mr. Barazenka, a journalist with Warsaw-based television channel Belsat TV who was filming the one-man protest.
Mr. Barazenka went on hunger strike to protest his jailing.