British foreign secretary condemns detention of journalists in Belarus

FILE PHOTO: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks during a joint news conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (not pictured) in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 25, 2020. Alaa Badarneh/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Friday condemned what he said was the mass detention of over 50 journalists in Belarus on Thursday evening, including from the UK’s publicly owned BBC, as well as local and international media.

“This was a blatant attempt to interfere with objective & honest reporting,” he said on Twitter. “The Belarusian authorities must stop targeting journalists & #defendmediafreedom.”

A Reuters witness said Belarusian police detained around 20 journalists preparing to cover a protest in central Minsk on Thursday and confiscated their telephones and identity documents.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Sandra Maler