Free Speech in Belarus: Fighting for the Truth in a Climate of Oppression

After the brutal crackdown on all independent voices in 2020, Belarusian independent media representatives were subjected to arrests, fines, searches and interrogations. The authorities blocked more than 3,000 online resources, while most independent print media were banned from distributing their materials.

Dozens of media organisations and hundreds of journalists were forced to relocate. 33 journalists are currently imprisoned. Following the forced landing of a Ryanair flight and consequent arrest of NEXTA co-founder Roman Protasevich and Russian blogger Sophia Sapega, Belarus saw the tightening of Western sanctions in response to this assault on freedom.

Despite the pressure directed against them, Belarusian independent media outlets continue their work providing high-quality objective information, which remains key in the fight against state propaganda and disinformation from both Russian and Belarusian state media.

The Henry Jackson Society welcomes you to a report launch event on attacks against media representatives in Belarus in 2011-2022, produced by the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ). The speakers will present the main findings of the report, including Aleksander Lukashenka’s attacks on the free media and the situation with freedom of speech in other post-Soviet autocracies. We shall also discuss the role the UK and other European institutions can play in supporting Belarusian media.

The event will be held in-person and online. The simultaneous interpretation from English to Russian will be available for those joining online.