On Monday, the book “Partyzanci. Journalists on Lukashenka’s Target”, whose authors are 29 journalists from Polish editorial offices, including Michał Tracz from TVN24 and Bianka Zalewska from TVN, had its premiere. The income from the sale of the book will be donated to help Belarusian journalists.
A press conference devoted to the book was held on Monday. Jaroslaw Włodarczyk, Secretary General of the International Association of Press Clubs said that “a year after the elections rigged by Lukashenka, the book ‘Partyzanci. Journalists at Lukashenka’s Target’ was published, in which Polish journalists describe the stories of Belarusian reporters.” He announced that “the money collected from the book will be used to help journalists in Belarus – to pay for lawyers and equipment needed for work”.
The originator of the book, Arleta Bojke, expressed the hope that “the book will bring something good”. – Because the Belarusian journalists with whom we talked repeat that the most important thing is to talk about Belarus, to talk about them, so that they know that what they were doing makes sense – she emphasized. – Another aim of the fundraiser will be to translate this item into other languages, first into English and German – she said.
Stories of Belarusian journalists
The editor of the book, Michał Potocki, said that the book consists of 20 chapters. – Through the prism of the described journalists, we show what these repressions really mean for the fate of individuals and families. Through the stories of 20 Belarusian journalists, it was shown what it means to live and work in an authoritarian, dictatorial state, in which this spiral of pressure is just beginning to take off, because not a week goes by without us finding out about more detainees, more criminal cases, more journalists who went to the police station, arrested or had to leave the country for their own safety, sometimes transferring entire editorial offices with them – he explained.
As reported by the authors of the book “Partyzanci. Journalists in Lukashenka’s Target” present stories, among others “Raman Pratasiewicz and Sciapana Puciła, thanks to which Belarusians from every corner of the country showed themselves what had happened in their country after the last elections. These are the stories of Kaciaryna Andrejewa or Daria Czulcova, which showed live anti-Lukashenka protests despite the overwhelming awareness that this work will end in a prison for them. This is the story of Yulia Słucka, the head of the Belarusian Press Club, whose records of more than 6 months of imprisonment make us painfully aware of the dehumanization of the system there. These are the stories of Natalia Radzina, who has been dreaming of returning to Belarus for 10 years, or Iosif Siaredicz, who knows Lukashenka like hardly anyone. This is finally history Andrzej Poczobutwho contracted COVID-19 behind bars, and his family did not receive his letters for weeks. Letters which are the only way of contact for them. ”
– Belarusian journalists say briefly: the most important thing is not to forget about us – said Michał Potocki, co-author and editor of the book. – But the point is also that they do not have to forget about practicing their profession or even about freedom. And for this you need money – he added.
Andrzej Pisalnik: If our colleagues did not have lawyers, they would not know what is happening in the wild
Andrzej Pisalnik, one of the heroes of the book, editor-in-chief of Znadniemna.pl in an interview with the Polish Press Agency said that “the law in Belarus does not work properly, or, as Lukashenka said,” sometimes the law is not important, you have to silence and pacify the nation “”. – Official legal assistance in Belarus is very expensive, but a lawyer is the only person who has access to our colleagues, he is a courier, an intermediary in communication with them – he explained. – If our colleagues did not have lawyers, they would not know what is happening at large, and the information that, for example, a book such as “Partisans. Journalists at Lukashenka’s Target” would be a great moral support for them – he said.
The writer is also a member of the Supreme Council of the Union of Poles in Belarus. When asked about Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut (who is also the protagonist of the book), he recalled that they had heard accusations of rehabilitation of Nazism, mentioning, among other things, the cursed soldiers. – Prison conditions are very harsh. (…) Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut, before being transferred to the investigative prison in Żodzina, were held in prison in the so-called Wołodarka, i.e. Wołodarskiego Street in Minsk. In this prison, after mass protests and after Lukashenka began cracking down on journalists, there were many political prisoners and sometimes in overcrowded cells, half of the prisoners were former criminals, he explained. However, he added, “in such a situation the political prisoner could feel relatively psychologically comfortable with the presence of other political prisoners.”
According to Pisalnik, the transfer of Borys and Poczobut “to the prison in Żodzina, where most criminal prisoners are held, is one of the most severe tortures for educated people”.
The authors of the book “Partisans. Journalists in Lukashenka’s Target”
The authors of reports published in the book are: Adrian Bąk (“Report on the state of the world”), Wiktoria Bieliaszyn (“Gazeta Wyborcza”), Arleta Bojke (Polish Television), Marysia Ciupka (“Visegrad Insight”, “Res Publica Nowa”), Piotr Drabik (Radio Zet), Anna Hałas-Michalska (Polsat), Wojciech Jakóbik (BiznesAlert.pl), Maciej Jastrzębski (Polish Radio), Magdalena Karpińska, Katarzyna Kopeć-Ziemczyk, Radosław Korzycki, Piotr Kościński, Mariusz Kowalczyk (“Newsweek”) , Anna Łabuszewska (“Tygodnik Powszechny”), Joanna Łada (Polish Television), Monika Maciejewska (TV Republika Portal), Sandra Meunier (Polish Television), Michał J. Owerczuk, Piotr Pogorzelski (Biełsat, “Simply East”), Michał Potocki (“Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”), Justyna Prus (Polish Press Agency), Maria Przełomiec (Polish Television), Wojciech Przybylski (“Visegrad Insight”, “Res Publica Nowa”), Ewa Raczyńska (Onet), Zbigniew Rokita, Grzegorz Sajór (Radio 357, “Press”), Michał Tracz (TVN24), Bianka Zalewska (Discovery TVN), Adam Zaw adzki (TV Republika portal).
The book is available online.
Main photo source: PAP / Paweł Supernak