The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has spoken out against Belarus’ crackdown on the media, after dozens of journalists were detained for covering the protests against the country’s president Aleksander Lukashenko.

“Belarusian authorities should stop detentions, arrests, and prosecutions of journalists covering protests in the run-up to Belarus’ presidential election, and ensure their safety,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.

She added that journalists should be allowed to freely report on major public events, without the fear of of getting arrested or harassed.

On June 19 at least 14 journalists covering protests in the capital and other cities, were arrested, with most of them charged with participating in an “unauthorised event” or “disobeying the police.”

As the country is heading for its presidential elections scheduled for August 9, the Belarusian President announced he will run for his 6th term. The move has sparked protesters across the country, with the opposition leader Nikolai Statkevich getting detained on his way to the rally, earlier in June.

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