Novaya Gazeta, Belarus.
Iryna Khalip is a reporter and editor in the Minsk bureau of Novaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper based in Moscow that is known for being critical of governments of the former Soviet Republics.
Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist who received a 2002 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award, worked for the same newspaper. Politkovskaya was murdered for her work in 2006.
Khalip, 41, has been a journalist in Belarus for more than 15 years. She is frequently detained and subjected to all-night interrogations by police. She has been arrested and beaten by police, who keep her under constant surveillance.
In 2003, Khalip’s articles on corruption in the prosecutor’s office caused the newspaper she was working for – Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta (Belarusian Business Newspaper) – to be suspended for “insulting the honor and dignity of the president.” The newspaper was forced to close permanently in 2006.
Khalip was among 35 journalists detained in connection with a demonstration held in Minsk in March 2000. The event was a protest against the official ban on a march that was to have been part of opposition festivities commemorating the 1918 founding of the Belarusian National Republic. Khalip was forced into a police vehicle and taken to an Interior Ministry facility in Minsk. She was released later that day.
The Belarusian government issued a warning to the independent newspaper Imya in 1999 for an article written by Khalip about the Central Electoral Committee’s activities. The newspaper’s coverage of the coming presidential elections amounted to inciting the overthrow of the state, said the chair of the Belarusian Press Committee. According to Belarusian press law, a second warning would lead to its closure.
Also in 1999, police came to Khalip’s home and detained her for an entire day, interrogating and threatening her. They took the computer she used for work. While Khalip was in detention, police searched her apartment and confiscated her travel documents.
While reporting at a 1997 rally opposing unification with Russia, Khalip was clubbed by riot police and dragged by her hair. Her father, who was at the rally with Khalip, was beaten unconscious.
”I simply want to tell the truth about the abductions and killings of politicians, about beatings of journalists. I cannot forget about my friends in jail, about those whose husbands were killed, about my colleagues, fewer and fewer of whom still remain in Belarus. […] However, I want to assure you that I shall continue to write the truth and talk openly about the situation in Belarus.” Khalip said in the acceptance speech for her IWMF Award.
Khalip was born November 12, 1967, in Minsk.
Iryna Khalip is the first Courage in Journalism Award winner from Belarus.
- Courage in Journalism Awards Awardee, 2009