Serbian Ambassador Srecko Djukic supported the Charter-97 website.
The European Union should use all instruments to ensure freedom of speech in Belarus.
Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Serbia to Belarus Srecko Djukic said this commenting on the blocking of Charter97.org:
– First of all, I want to express my support to the Charter97 website. It informs people all-round not only in Belarus, but all over the world. People do not have enough of such kind of information.
There is no sense in prohibiting the Charter-97 website, because we live in an information society. If today one is not allowed to receive information directly, he will receive it indirectly. There is no reason for such sort of steps in our society today.
I want to express my solidarity with the Charter 97 team, with the journalists, with whom I worked very closely when I was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belarus. I never had any problems in communication with both independent and official journalists, because we had one common interest – the development of Serbian-Belarusian relations and mutual understanding in all spheres.
Charter-97 editor-in-chief Natallia Radzina contributed toward that in a lot of ways. She is a wonderful journalist, I repeatedly had an opportunity to communicate with her in Belarus. And today I'm very attentive to what she does.
It is unfortunate that today, in the 21st century, a journalist cannot be at her home, next to her mother, relatives and friends. It simply has no analogues in the modern world. This could happen in the 19-20 century, but not today. This present time people must have an opportunity to communicate directly, without any obstacles.
So I support the lifting of restrictions from Charter-97 and I support the return of the site to its permanent place in Minsk and the free access to its information.
– Is your appeal addressed to the Belarusian authorities?
– It is addressed to both the Belarusian authorities and the European Union. There is no point in banning an independent website. We live in a modern information society. There must be media outlets that express different points of view.
Therefore, I urge everyone to do everything possible to stop the blocking of the Charter 97 website.
The EU has quite a lot of opportunities to factor into the relations with Minsk. Recently, European Commissioner Johannes Khan has been to Minsk.
If Belarus wants to establish relations with the EU, then it should do this in all the spheres, and not only in the economic sphere. Therefore, the European Union should use a comprehensive approach to Belarus and influence the situation with freedom of the media, ensuring that there is an opportunity to express variety of opinions on any of the issues in the country.