22 November 2017, Wednesday, 10:05

Free Media Necessary For Our Future

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DZIANIS KAZAKEVICH

I remember one story about the May Day protests.

Mikalai Statkevich was jailed for several days, a few days before the planned protest. On the eve of the action, the website of Radio Liberty published the news with the phrase "whether the action advanced by Statkevich will be held, is unknown". This phrase appeared later on the website Novy Chas and on the website of the HRC "Viasna". On the same day (that is, the day before the action), Nasha Niva published the news that the march of solidarity initiated by the "opposition organizations" would not take place.

The information that, in fact, another march is planned under the leadership of Mikalai Statkevich, was quietly buried inside the news that Mikalai Statkevich was arrested, and neither time nor place of gathering was indicated, and in general, it was written so that the reader should have the impression that the action would not take place.

I remember that very well then, because I specifically looked for this information on different sites, and I got the impression that the correct information about the May Day protest in Minsk could only be found on the Charter.

Free media is needed so that we can make decisions and plan our future based on reliable information, and for me the Charter is a source of practically important information.

There are many examples of such news. In September 2010, among the main news on the Charter, there were reports that the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble is inevitable, and indeed, in 2011 the Belarusian ruble lost more than half of its value at one point. Or here is another example: I and my friends bought gasoline more than once in the evening after the news that gasoline would rise in price for tomorrow.

However, I read the Charter not only for what is published there. It’s important for me what it doesn’t publish. For example, there is no information about the "flash mobs of the" Tell the Truth "campaign. The Charter does not publish pseudo-news about the projects supervised by the KGB.

In the history of the Charter there were terrible pages. I am deeply shocked by the murder of Aleh Biabenin, I clearly remember the terrible news about Dzmitry Bandarenka's spine, about how the authorities tried to seize Andrei Sannikov and Iryna Khalip’s son Danik, about how Natallia Radzina was pressured in the KGB jail.

Therefore, after 2010, the Charter for me is more than just one of the media resources. On the 20th anniversary, I would like first of all to say thank you for what you are, thank you for what you are doing, and please work every day to become even better.

Dzianis Kazakevich, specially for the Charter97.org