Members of the Media Freedom Coalition have condemned the Belarus government for its forced diversion and landing of a commercial aircraft and subsequent arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich.
At the same time, the organisation demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Protasevich as well as other journalists and media workers who have been detained in Belarus for doing their jobs and also demanded the punishment of those involved in attacks on journalists and media workers.
The Media Freedom Coalition made the statement via a press release issued on Saturday.
In the release, the organisation said that Belarus's actions against Roman Protasevich is a full-frontal attack on media freedom and has serious implications on the right of freedom of expression and opinion more broadly.
The organisation also said that this action is all the more troubling when seen in the context of the large-scale campaign to silence independent voices in Belarus, including the May 18 raid on the offices of independent news sites and the subsequent arrest of staff. Some 400 journalists and workers in the media in Belarus have faced various forms of repression in the course of the August 9 election and its aftermath.