In Belarus and Peru, recent events have raised concerns about the state of press freedom, as journalists face increased restrictions and attacks in both countries.
The European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Belarus government’s systematic repression of its citizens, including independent journalists. Meanwhile, in Peru, the Council of Peruvian Press has reported a high number of attacks on journalists within the past three months.
Aleksander Lukashenko’s regime has intensified its persecution of the press, with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reporting at least ten journalists detained since March 10th. Among them, five remain in custody, and a newsroom was raided by official agents. Human rights advocates estimate that over 100 arrests have taken place, including journalists, activists, healthcare professionals, and drone operators.
The ongoing crackdown on free speech in Belarus began to worsen in August 2020 when Lukashenko was re-elected in an election marred by allegations of fraud. Protests erupted across the country, and the government’s response included arresting journalists, shutting down independent media outlets, and banning the Euronews TV network.
The CPJ has highlighted cases involving forced confessions and the detention of journalists’ family members in Belarus. Freelance photojournalist Valery Yudin and former state TV channel employee Dmitriy Bayarovich are among those currently in detention.
In Peru, the Council of Peruvian Press has revealed that more than 170 journalists have been attacked and detained in the past three months. Many of these cases occurred while journalists were covering protests sparked by the failed coup attempt by former President Pedro Castillo.
The Council of Peruvian Press noted that journalists have become targets for both protesters and law enforcement officers. In fact, around 60% of the attacks on journalists have been perpetrated by members of the Peruvian National Police. The council also cited instances where citizens prevented journalists from covering important events, such as natural disasters in Arequipa.
During the ongoing protests in Peru, at least 32 attacks on journalists have been recorded. Television channels América TV and Panamericana TV have seen their premises attacked, while the CTC channel in Cusco was set on fire, and a vehicle belonging to Exitosa was overturned. Journalists Paola Collazos and Fortunato Atauje experienced harassment and threats while covering protests in Ayacucho in December.