Independent journalists accused of spying on farm
11:33, — Politics
Deputy chairman of Lebedyanka agricultural production cooperative accused Belsat's journalists, who were making a reportage, of “industrial espionage”.
The journalists wanted to talk to workers of the cooperative to learn whether they could confirm or deny the information about the violations mentioned in a written appeal to the local authorities in Mogilyovski Vybor newspaper by activist Valery Usik, Viasna human rights centre reports.
They were talking to Lebedyanka workers about their real wages and working conditions on a livestock farm, when the deputy chairman of the cooperative arrived. He accused Belsat's journalists of “industrial espionage”, ordered them to leave the “secret” facility immediately and threatened to call police.
On the evening of 28 February, district police inspector Syarhei Karytkin visited Valery Usik at home in the village of Lebedyanka and asked him why Usik had invited the television crew.
“I refused to talk to this man, who had been impolite to me earlier,” Valery Usik notes. “I said I didn't have to account to him for my actions and ordered him to leave the yard. He went away.”
The story of the journalists' visit to strategic village Lebedyanka didn't end. Valery Usik said on March 2 that police drew reports on administrative offences against two workers who spoke to the journalists. The official reason for making the reports remains unknown.
According to Valery Usik, it is just another attempt to scare Lebedyanka workers by police and the local authorities so that they don't discuss the problems of the farm.