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Belarus bans German news channel Deutsche Welle

By AFP

April 30, 2024 02:36 PM


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Belarus has banned the "extremist" German television news network Deutsche Welle, according to a decision published on Monday, with Berlin hitting out at an attempt to muzzle independent media.

The interior ministry said that the local DW Belarus service was involved in "extremist activities", according to a statement published on its website and seen by AFP.

DW said in a statement that its Belarusian service was banned throughout the country on "all platforms" online.

"The rulers in Minsk are trying with all their might to intimidate and silence journalists and the media," Germany's foreign ministry said on X, formerly Twitter.

"The ban on @DeutscheWelle in #Belarus is another piece of the mosaic in (President Alexander) Lukashenko's toolbox of repression. Truth cannot be banned."

The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) NGO warned that anyone associated with DW risked prison sentences of between two and seven years.

"RSF denounces this first for a foreign media outlet & the authorities' desire to terrorise any independent voice," the NGO wrote on X.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994, crushing all dissent.

Minsk stepped up its repression of opposition figures and voices since Lukashenko's controversial re-election in 2020, which sparked mass protests that were crushed by a brutal police response that saw thousands arrested.

According to the Viasna NGO, almost 1,400 people are in prison in Belarus for political reasons, in a country of less than 10 million people.


AFP


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