In reaction to recent developments in Belarus, the editors-in-chief of major Slovak media, and the Association of Print and Digital Media, have issued this joint declaration:
Our colleague Roman Pratasevic was forcibly removed from an airplane under the pretence of a bomb scare. The Belarusan dictator Alexander Lukashenka wished his arrest so much, that he ordered a fighter jet to divert the commercial flight on route to Vilnius to Minsk. Pratasevic now faces the threat of torture, imprisonment, and possible death penalty. Only because he wanted to write truthfully about Belarus.
The biggest independent news portal in Belarus tut.by dared to be critical of Lukashenka. And he just shut them down. Their website, visited by over three million Belarusans, was blocked. Many reporters ended up in jail. Five journalists are missing.
Free media are a guarantee of freedom and democracy. That is why autocrats try to silence them. We, too, remember, what it is like. That is why today, we stand by our Belarusan colleagues and ask the representatives of Slovakia and the European Union, to do everything in their power to protect and save them.
Beata Balogová, editor-in-chief, SME
Peter Bárdy, editor-in-chief, aktuality.sk
Matúš Kostolný, editor-in-chief, Denník N
Jakub Prokeš, editor-in-chief, Pravda
Ivana Mandáková, editor-in-chief, Plus Jeden Deň
Marcela Šimková, editor-in-chief, Hospodárske noviny
Peter Palovič, editor-in-chief, Rádio Expres
Michaela Terenzáni, editor-in-chief, The Slovak Spectator
Liszka Györgyi, editor-in-chief, Vasárnap
Attila Lovász, director of minority broadcasting at the public RTVS broadcaster,
Marián Kolár, editor-in-chief of the state news agency TASR
Lukáš Diko, editor-in-chief, Ján Kuciak Investigative Centre
Henrich Krejča, director for news and reporting, TV Markíza
Štefan Hríb, editor-in-chief, .týždeň
Michal Pobeha, editor-in-chief, SITA news agecy
Martin Hanus, editor-in-chief, Postoj
Vahram Chuguryan, director of news and reporting at the public RTVS broadcaster
Júlia Kováčová, editor-in-chief, Nový čas
Jaroslav Vrábeľ, editor-in-chief, Korzár
Braňo Karvaš, editor-in-chief, Topky.sk
Csaba Nyerges, editor-in-chief, Új Szó
Lucia Yar, deputy editor-in-chief, euractiv.sk
Alexej Fulmek, chairman, Slovak Print and Digital Media Association
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