Belarus expands crackdown on independent media

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities in Belarus raided the homes and offices of independent media outlets and civil society activists, widening a crackdown on opposition in the ex-Soviet nation.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Viasna human rights center said authorities searched the apartments and offices of at least 31 journalists and activists in the capital of Minsk and seven other cities on Friday.

The country’s main security agency, which still goes under its Soviet-era name KGB, said those targeted were suspected of involvement in “extremist activities.” They included 22 journalists who work for the Belsat TV channel, which is funded by Poland, and for U.S.-funded broadcaster RFE/RL. Authorities broke down the door of RFE/RL’s office in Minsk.

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