One of the quivering questions today is freedom of speech. Young Belarusian journalists with a special fire in their eyes and a big desire in their hearts yearn for this freedom. They need their voices to be heard now, today. 

More and more often we have to face limitations. Frames are an integral part of the overall picture of life. However, there are those frameworks that are aimed at narrowing the scope of our judgment and creativity. They are mainly established by society. Violation of such frameworks entails responsibility, and depending on the scale of the limitation, the part of this responsibility grows.

Freedom is absolutely an inviolable right of any person, ”presented” at their birth. One part of freedom is freedom of speech. However, today we have to face restrictions and ignorance towards this right. Censorship is a word that has left an imprint on more than one article or one post on Twitter.

The situation in each country is individual, but at the same time identical – some people’s voice do not have the possibility to be heard. The situation in Belarus is imprinted on people’s creativity and life in general. Young people express their thoughts and views in public carefully. To get a complete contemplation of the whole “picture with frames”, I decided  to ask the Belarusian youth questions to understand if they feel like their voices are heard today.

Nikita Shidlovsky, 18, student and journalist in the regional newspaper ”Nasha Talachynshchyna”:

What does “freedom of speech” mean to you personally?
– Freedom of speech is still an undefined concept. For me personally, freedom of speech is expressed in the ability to say whatever you think, without consequences and limitations.

Have you encountered restrictions on your freedom of speech?
– Of course! I think this is a natural problem because words can be a very powerful weapon, and this is often unprofitable for those in power and for dissidents.

Where did you look for support?
– I looked for support in art and logic. 

Do you think your voice will be heard in 2021?
– I strive to be heard. Will it be so? I think so.

Anastasia Grushovets, a 19-year-old journalist for the Belarusian Internet portal TUT.BY, answered the same series of questions.

What does “freedom of speech” mean to you personally?
– For me personally, freedom of speech is an opportunity to openly express my position live or online. To not be afraid that someone with whom your views do not coincide with, will negatively affect your life and put a spoke in your wheels. For me, it is also the freedom for all the journalists and all the publications, their free and safe access to various events and a guarantee of their safety.

Have you encountered restrictions on freedom of speech?
– In our political situation, the first thing that comes to mind is the situation that occurred after the events on August 9. It is obvious to me that shut down of the Internet for three days, depriving publications the status of media, detention of journalists and court cases against them, selective approach on issuing accreditations, is an open violation of freedom of speech. Belarus is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, what are we able to talk about here? Personally, I did not face as vivid restrictions as I described above, but still. Before publishing a post that reflects my attitude to what is happening, I have to think it over a thousand times because this may affect my studies, career or my whole life.

Where did you look for support?
– I find support in like-minded people. It is nice to see that there are people with their own opinions. And they are not afraid to express them. You look at them, admire them, analyze them. And you understand that you can do that too. Not only can, you have to do it. Because then someone will look at your statements the same way they look at theirs. Someone will look, admire and analyze you too, and in the long run express themselves the same way.

Do you think your voice will be heard in 2021?
– I believe that. It seems to me that after a certain period of time our voices will become so many that it will be impossible not to hear them.

It is not just journalists who face restrictions on their freedom of speech. The head of the KVN (The Funny and Resourceful Club, a TV quiz game in which student teams are erudite, witty and resourceful) of the city of Gorki, David Sidorenko, 21, told us about censorship and the framework.

– Freedom of speech means having the right to speak out and not being afraid to pay for it. At KVN, initially the political agenda was discussed through jokes. Today it is less common. I think there is a certain courage in this, to express my opinion and show the stupidity and absurdity of various laws and decisions made. Censorship is everywhere.

– I understand that I am studying at a state university where we cannot ridicule the authorities and the laws. I am responsible, not only for myself, but also for my colleagues. But we do not hide actualities. KVN helps to play these situations beautifully by showing a certain attitude towards many things that are happening in Belarus.

– I know that my voice will be heard on social networks. For the time being, it does not pull on the mass character. But I think if my voice is combined with other voices, it will be much louder.

Youths are the driving force of the country. And today this power is not silent. Young people are tired of resigning themselves to imposed attitudes. They want to be heard. And this will definitely happen. As the Russian poet Anatoly Nekrasov once said: “Freedom cannot be incomplete. It either exists or it does not ”.

”S” (Due to safety reasons the writer will remain anonymous)

Fler artiklar