International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
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OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
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BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
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ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
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OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
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Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
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OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
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OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
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OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
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TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
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OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
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OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
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Harlem Desir, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, has expressed his concerns and denounced the detention and imprisonment of journalists, including freelancers, in authoritarian Belarus over the past days.
According to the OSCE representative's statement published on May 12, Belarusian courts sentenced four reporters to 10 days of administrative arrest on charges of participating in "unauthorised events", while they were reportedly observing and covering public gatherings in support of the detained Sergei Tsikhanovski, the nation's popular blogger, who is critical of the Belarusian authorities.
The blogger, who has been touring Belarus over the past weeks and recording the local population amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, was detained on May 6. He was pulled over by traffic police. The blogger livestreamed the police’s attempt to get him out of the vehicle, including the country's special task force.
"I am alarmed by the detention and imprisonment of journalists and freelance reporters [...] for their alleged participation in unauthorised events," Desir said. "Journalists must be able to report on events of public interest such as public protests. I am very much concerned by this decision, which [impinges] on media freedom. I call on the authorities to release all journalists and freelance reporters concerned."
Belarusian law enforcers have detained or arrested around 120 anti-government protestors, activists and journalists in different regions of the country during the past week.
Meanwhile, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has demanded the release of four journalists sent to jail just for doing their job.
"This new wave of attacks and imprisonment of freelance journalists in Belarus for doing their job is not only a shameless intimidation against all journalists, it leaves indeed great doubts about the judicial system in Belarus and this even more in times of COVID-19, when courtrooms are not open to the public," Renate Schroeder, EFJ director, said on May 12. "We also condemn the high fines of up to €500 for the freelance journalists."
Last week, the Belarusian authorities revoked the media accreditation of a news crew of the Russian Kremlin-controlled television Channel One and deported its correspondent from the country after his report about the snowballing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in the post-Soviet republic, which refuses to implement the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The accreditations of the channel's correspondent Oleksei Kruchinin and his cameraman were revoked one day after Channel One aired on May 6 his report alleging that April's Orthodox Christian Easter services and a state-organised nationwide subbotnik had led to a surge in new coronavirus cases in the country.
The Belarusian parliament has set the country's presidential election for 9 August, local state-controlled media reported the same day.
Earlier in May, authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, Central and Eastern Europe's longest-ruling head of state, said that the authorities were not going to postpone the election due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
"Belarus is going to have the presidential election sooner. We have no reason to postpone it [due to the coronavirus epidemic]. There is no possibility to postpone the election, according to the constitution," he said. "Therefore we will hold the election. We will set the date soon. It is going to be summer, definitely. The deadline is the end of August."
Lukashenko is going to remain at his post "for as long as the people will trust me", as well as "for as long as I am healthy," he told journalists in September 2019. "If you are unhealthy, there's nothing for you to do as president. The main things are health and people's confidence," he said.
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