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Independent Television Channel's Offices Searched in Belarus

Updated

The Belarusian Journalists' Association said on April 9 that police were searching the premises of the independent television company.

MINSK -- Belarusian police have searched headquarters of the popular Belsat TV, a subsidiary of Poland's Telewizja Polska.

RFE/RL correspondents reported from outside the building that houses Belsat TV's office that police took away computers and other office equipment.

Investigative Committee spokesman Syarhey Kabakovich told RFE/RL that the searches were conducted as part of investigation of a unspecified "libel case," but did not elaborate.

It is not the first time Belsat TV has faced pressure in Belarus.

In 2016, Belarus's Supreme Court barred Telewizja Polska, the Polish public broadcaster, from using the name Belsat TV for its Belarusian-language broadcasts and online programming.

The court said such use violates the rights of a Belarusian satellite and cable TV equipment company called BELSATplus.

Belsat TV continued to use its name despite the ruling, saying its trademark does not fall under Belarusian jurisdiction as it is registered in Poland and operates from that country.

Rights advocates say President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government has severely restricted independent media as part of efforts to suppress dissent during his almost 25-year rule.

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