Estonian journalists denied entry to Belarus

The Belarusian embassy in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Belarusian embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Belarusian authorities refused to allow journalists from Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) to enter the country on Thursday at Minsk Airport.

"It seems that they have decided not to let foreign journalists into the country at the moment," Vahur Lauri, a journalist from ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne Kaamera" told ERR's Estonian language news portal on Thursday.

Lauri said he and ERR correspondent Anton Alexeyev submitted an application for accreditation in Tallinn via the website of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but unlike on previous occasions, this procedure was delayed.

"The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still processing our application for accreditation," Lauri said. As the accreditation has not yet been granted, it was cited as a reason why they are not allowed in the country, he explained.

"It seems that the system has been created in order not to allow foreign journalists into the country," said Lauri, adding that if you ask the officials about the application no one will directly refuse it, but it is said that the application is being processed.

In addition to the two Estonian journalists denied entry, there were also Poles, Serbs, Germans and Georgians at Minsk Airport who were not allowed into the country.

"I don't know if they were all journalists, but they were people who were not allowed into the country and who were trying to get out of there," Lauri explained.

ERR's reporters arrived in Minsk around noon on Thursday and after the Belarusian authorities refused to allow them into the country, they began their journey back to Estonia.

ERR's Moscow correspondent Anton Alexeyev also visited Belarus during the presidential elections on August 9, where he covered the run up to the election and the first days protests following the fraudulent election.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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