Polish-Belarusian minority journalist summoned to prosecutor's office

Pisalnik was warned that he should not make statements in his commentaries, including those written for foreign media, that the Polish minority was being "persecuted." Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP

A journalist and activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB) was summoned to the prosecutor's office in Grodno on Tuesday and warned that he should not refer to any "persecution of the Polish minority" in his commentaries.

Andrzej Pisalnik told PAP that the meeting lasted for nearly 30 minutes. He was warned that authorities were monitoring publications on the internet and were obliged to warn authors that they faced possible administrative and criminal liability.

Pisalnik had been reporting on the arrests of representatives of the ZPB and state controls in Polish schools on the Znadniemna.pl website which he heads. He had also been releasing statements to foreign media.

He added that it was suggested to him that his commentaries could be interpreted as an "incitement to ethnic hatred."

Pisalnik was also warned that he should not make statements in his commentaries, including those written for foreign media, that the Polish minority was being "persecuted."

Seated in Grodno, a city with a large Polish population, the ZPB is the biggest Polish diaspora organisation in Belarus. In 2005, the authorities in Minsk revoked its registration.

The union's statutory activities include nurturing the Polish identity and Polish culture, teaching the language and maintaining memorial sites.