MINSK, 22 January (BelTA) – The informal meeting on the work of mass media in Belarus has nothing in common with the UN Security Council agenda. The relevant statement was made by Permanent Representative of Belarus in the United Nations Organization Valentin Rybakov during an informal discussion held on 22 January using the Arria formula to discuss the work of mass media in Belarus, BelTA has learned.
The diplomat stressed that the participation of the Belarusian side in the informal meeting does not mean its legitimacy is recognized.
According to Valentin Rybakov, the meeting does not match the authority of the UN Security Council as the key body in charge of maintaining international peace and security. “Such meetings, even unofficial ones are totally unrelated to the agenda of the UN Security Council. They are a blatant abuse of the mandate of this key body of the United Nations Organization. It is another desperate attempt of some members of the UN Security Council to score political points by using a selective and biased approach,” he stressed.
Valentin Rybakov also drew attention to the organization of the event. In his words, some speakers were not professionals of the mass media industry while other ones were totally unrelated to journalism.
In turn, the Belarusian side had contacted the organizers with a proposal to allow representatives of mass media – reporters and public persons from Belarus – to speak at the meeting. It would have contributed to an open discussion and would have provided an opportunity to hear alternative opinions. However, the proposal had been turned down. “Unfortunately, neither the chairperson of the Belarusian Union of Journalists nor the plenipotentiary for rights of journalists from Belarus had been allowed to participate. What kind of freedom of speech is it? Should an inclusive dialogue look like that? From our point of view it is nothing but discrimination and politicized manipulation,” the diplomat said. “What is even more absurd is that our proposal on additional speakers had been sent even before the agenda was compiled and the list of speakers was finalized.”
Addressing co-organizers of the event, among which are a number of Western nations, the Belarusian diplomat stressed that neither of them is a model guardian of democratic values and principles. “None of you is a shining beacon of democracy. You have absolutely no moral right to preach democracy or lecture us or anyone else about democratic values. By the way, European and Estonian taxpayers may be interested in learning who paid for the trip of some speakers to Tallinn,” he remarked.
Valentin Rybakov stressed that right now Belarus needs least of all foreign interference and lectures on the part of those, who are way below the standards of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the media.
He said he hopes that the co-organizers of the event would be brave enough to call another meeting to discuss human rights, election results, and freedom of the media in other countries on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Belarus will not tolerate any external interference and pressure. The mandate of key bodies of the United Nations Organization must not be abused only for the sake of satisfying narrow-minded political interests of certain countries. Belarus calls upon all the sides to observe norms of the international law and fully observe goals and principles of the UN Charter. We are ready to cooperate with all the member states on principles of mutual respect and dialogue.”