Austria protests detention of 2 journalists in Belarus

BERLIN (AP) — The Austrian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday protested the detention of two journalists who were working in Belarus for Austria’s national broadcaster ORF.

ORF correspondent Carola Schneider and her camera operator were detained Monday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, and taken to a police station.

The broadcaster cited a Belarusian human rights group as saying that plainclothes police officers stopped the two journalists while they were interviewing a local resident. The pair were later released, ORF said.

Austria’s Foreign Ministry called the police action “completely unacceptable.”

“We immediately lodged a protest,” the ministry said on Twitter. “Correspondents must be able to work unhindered and media freedom must always be ensured.”

Independent media outlets and journalists have come under pressure in Belarus since the reelection of the country’s authoritarian president a year ago triggered mass protests.

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