Belarusian journalist convicted of "illegal" reporting

A Belarusian journalist has been fined for freelancing for an exiled television channel under a new restrictive media law in the former Soviet republic.

A court in the Belarusian city of Gomel on Wednesday has found journalist Larisa Shchiryakova guilty of "illegal dissemination of media products" and fined her about $250. The court said Shchiryakova "illegally interviewed" residents of a Belarusian village for Belsat, an independent Belarusian channel that broadcasts from neighboring Poland.

Authorities in Belarus have denied Belsat media accreditation for nine years.

The government in Belarus has gone after journalists like those at Belsat who seek to skirt state censorship by broadcasting from outside the country. Last year, 28 journalists in Belarus were hit with hefty fines, in some cases after intimidating interrogation by the local KGB.