View Adopted: 2022.03.15
The author is V. Parfenenka, a national of Belarus who claims that the State party has violated his rights under article 19 (2), read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3) of the Covenant. He is a foreign correspondent of the radio station Bialoruskie Radio Racja, registered in Poland, and he could not obtain an accreditation as a journalist working for foreign media. The author claims that the refusal of accreditation by the Bielorussian Ministry of Foreign Affairs amounts to a denial of access to information and of exercising his right to obtain and impart information, and that it is a de facto prohibition of his right to exercise his profession as a journalist.
The Committee notes that the author has appealed the actions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Council of Ministers to no avail, so it considers that the author’s claims under article 19 (2), read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3) of the Covenant regarding the restriction of his freedom of expression are sufficiently substantiated for admissibility.
The Committee concludes that the State party has failed to show that the refusal of accreditation was necessary and proportionate for respect of the rights or reputations of others, for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public) or of public health or morals. The Committee considers there is a violation of the author’s rights under article 19 (2), read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3) of the Covenant.
The State party is obligated to provide the author with adequate compensation and an independent review of the application to grant him accreditation in full respect of his rights under article 19 (2). The State party is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future. To that end, the State party should review its legislation, particularly the Law on Mass Media and the regulations of 25 December 2008 on the procedure of accreditation of journalists working for foreign media.
Deadline for implementation: October 2022
By: Irene Aparicio