The co-founder of TUT.BY protal Yuri Zisser has described the 'BELTA case' as political, according to the statement on his Facebook page.
On 7 August, law-enforcement agents raided the newsrooms of TUT.BY and independent news agency BelaPAN. The Investigation Committee said it had opened a criminal case against two editors from the largest news portal TUT.BY and one journalist from the indepenent news agency BelaPAN on suspicion of hacking the computer systems of state-run news agency BELTA and stealing its information. As of writing, the following TUT.BY editors Maryna Zolotova, Anna Kaltygina, Galina Ulasik, Hanna Yermachonok and BelaPAN journalist Tacciana Karavenkova remain in detention.
Late on 7 August, state TV channels and the newspaper of the presidential administration SB. Belarus Today published the tapped conversations of TUT.BY staffers.
Yury Zisser wrote on Facebook that the agents had taken about a dozen of computer hard discs from the TUT.BY office. He believes the security services are copying all the internal information of the company, including the corporate email, accounting, etc. It means they will be in possession of data not only about the TYTBY Media Co but also about all the companies where Zisser has shares. "If some of you wrote me on business, please be warned that our correspondence will be read," he wrote.
Zisser stressed TUT.BY continues to operate normally - news and adverts are published remotely.
He also changed his mind with regard to how to describe the 'BELTA case.' On the morning of 7 August, he refused to admit it was a politically motivate case.
"Politics was not obvious in the morning. However, towards the end of the day, this case was was so profoundly covered in various state media, quite inadequately versus the essence of the case, that political pretext became obvious to me," Zisser stressed.