Belarus, shaken by three weeks of massive protests against its authoritarian president, on Saturday cracked down hard on the news media, deporting some foreign journalists reporting in the country and revoking the accreditation of many Belarusian journalists, the AP reports. Two Moscow-based Associated Press journalists who were covering the recent protests in Belarus were deported to Russia on Saturday. In addition, the AP's Belarusian journalists were told by the government that their press credentials had been revoked. "The Associated Press decries in the strongest terms this blatant attack on press freedom in Belarus," said Lauren Easton, the AP's director of media relations. "AP calls on the Belarusian government to reinstate the credentials of independent journalists."
The Belarusian Association of Journalists said accreditation was also taken away from 17 Belarusians working for several other media. Germany’s ARD television said two of its Moscow-based journalists also were deported to Russia, a Belarusian producer faces trial on Monday and their accreditation to work in Belarus was revoked. The BBC said two of its journalists working for the BBC Russian service in Minsk also had their accreditation revoked and US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said five of its journalists lost accreditation. The program director for ARD's biggest regional affiliate, WDR, which oversees coverage of Belarus, called the treatment of its camera team "absolutely unacceptable."
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