Statement on attacks on freedom of opinion and expression and media freedom in Belarus

Delivered by Minister Counsellor Henning Hj Johansen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 3 September 2020.

Mr. Chair, 

In times of chaos and instability, access to reliable information is crucial to safeguard the rights of individuals. In such situations, it is more important than ever to fight misinformation, support independent journalism and protect journalists. A free and independent press contributes to an informed society, and thus to stability, and journalists and media workers should not have to live in fear for reporting the truth.

Belarus, along with all other OSCE participating states, has committed to ensuring a free and independent press. We call on Belarusian authorities to restore withdrawn accreditations to journalists, to reinstate freedom of the press within its borders and to refrain from further use of administrative measures to silence the opposition.

Norway follows the situation in Belarus closely. The unrest and lack of dialogue gives ground for continued concern. We remind the authorities in Minsk of their commitments to upholding human rights for all people within the country’s borders.

Thank you