The Belarus Press Association (AJB) was awarded the UNESCO World Press Freedom Award on Wednesday for saving several local independent media outlets from the repression of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has violently suppressed the media and civil society since his re-election in 2020, which is considered fraudulent by Westerners. An operation that led to the imprisonment of more than 1,000 people.
“It simply came to our notice thenAndreï Bastunets, President of the AJB, was delighted to announce the winner of a UNESCO Prize for the first time in 25 years.
“This award is for all Belarusian freelance journalists who have continued to serve for the past two years despite all pressures, publications and arrests.”He joined the Pashtunets, who left Belarus last year, where he has since been in the unknown.
According to the AJB, more than 24 journalists are currently being held in prison in the country.
“All independent media in Belarus are banned due to its ‘extremist’ nature, blocked in the country and can only be viewed through the VPN. Many have left Belarus, but others continue to work and now write to outlets outside the country.“, Andreï Bastunets explained.
“But the reliance of some proves their courage.”He added. “Every dictatorial leader aims to control information. There has been constant pressure since he (Alexander Lukashenko) came to power..
The Guillermo Cano Prize, its official award ceremony, will take place in Uruguay on May 2, after Colombian journalist Guillermo Cano Issa was assassinated in 1986 in Bogot.
“Once again, their example inspires us and reminds us of the importance of ensuring that journalists work freely and safely, wherever they are.”UN The agency’s director general, Audrey Azole, underlined in a press release.
Repression of journalists in Belarus has continued in recent weeks, according to reports by the AJB and other activist groups.
Founded in 1995, the AJB fought to defend press freedom in Belarus in response to Lukashenko’s promotion a year ago and the strength of 1,300 members, but was forced to put an end to its activities during a wave of repression last summer.