SBS Dateline reporter Amos Roberts will arrive back in Australia tomorrow after being held by Belarusian authorities as he tried to leave that country.
SBS reports Roberts had been covering a mass airdrop of teddy bears by a Swedish public relations firm, which caused a major diplomatic row between Belarus and the European Union.
Ily Kuznetsov, a representative of the Belarusian journalists’ union, said Roberts had told him that border guards had confiscated his TV camera, computer and all the material he had gathered during the week before the parliamentary election in Belarus.
Associated Press reports that Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet republic since 1994, has little tolerance for independent media.
Executive Producer Peter Charley says it is not uncommon for SBS Dateline reporters to be in such a position, as they strive to uncover stories across the globe.
“There are some components of that story that may have upset members of the Belarus government possibly, that’s why he was stopped, I’m not certain,” he said.
Charley said Roberts was safe and well, and would be returning to Australia.
An SBS spokesperson told TV Tonight they weren’t sure whether his equipment would be returned but presumed footage had been confiscated.