RSF delivers hundreds of “Postcards for Maryna” to Belarusian embassies in 7 cities, calling for the release of jailed editor Maryna Zolatava
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has concluded its “Postcards for Maryna” action by delivering hundreds of postcards, letters, and online messages in support of jailed Belarusian editor Maryna Zolatava to Belarusian embassies in seven cities around the world to mark Zolatava’s birthday. Joined by Zolatava’s family and prominent supporters, RSF has sent a clear signal to the Belarusian authorities that the international community is watching Zolatava’s case and demands the release of all 36 jailed media workers in the country.
On 6 November, RSF representatives in Paris, London, Berlin, Bern, Stockholm, Vienna, and Washington DC delivered hundreds of messages of support for Zolatava to the Belarusian embassies in their country. The date is Zolatava’s 46th birthday – the third birthday she has spent behind bars, where she is serving a 12-year sentence on national security charges. Editor-in-chief of TUT.BY, Belarus’most popular independent news site before its ban, Zolatava has become an emblematic figure, representative of the dire state of press freedom in Belarus, including a group of 36 jailed media workers.
In Paris, RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire told journalists gathered outside the Belarusian embassy, "Dictator Alexander Lukashenko would like to take advantage of international news to make people forget the repression and terror in his country. We have come here this morning to say no to his regime's propaganda and to show that we are continuing to fight for the journalists in detention in Belarus and to draw the media's attention to this situation. Maryna Zolatava is solely a journalist, the country's most famous, the editor who ran the country's biggest independent website, and that's why the regime is hitting her so hard."
Zolatava’s husband Vasily Kishkurno, who joined the Paris action along with their two young adult children, explained how much this support meant to their family, and called for further solidarity with Maryna and all other jailed Belarusian journalists targeted for not staying silent in the aftermath of the 2020 election. “They need this support, and can feel it even in prison, because human warmth transcends all walls and even borders. I know one day the sun will rise in Belarus,” he said.
“As the Lukashenko regime’s relentless crackdown on independent media shows no signs of stopping, international mobilisation in support of courageous Belarusian journalists like Maryna Zolatava is more important than ever. This outpouring of global solidarity makes it clear that the world will not forget Zolatava and her colleagues. Our call to free Zolatava and all journalists detained in Belarus is louder than ever - and we will not stop until they are freed.
RSF offices around the world collected postcards over the past two months as part of its global #FreeZolatava campaign. The “Postcards for Maryna” action drew high-profile support from British actor Stephen Fry, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and members of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Belarus.
Earlier this year, RSF’s global network mobilised to join the Belarus Association of Journalists’ marathon of solidarity with imprisoned journalists, showing support from 12 RSF offices around the world. RSF continues to campaign to #FreeZolatava and all jailed journalists in Belarus as a global priority.
Belarus is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.