Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists have urged the European Olympic Committees (EOC) to establish a complaints hotline for media covering Minsk 2019 amid concerns over press treatment in the country.
In a statement released to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, the campaigners reiterated calls for the EOC to use the event to improve media freedom in Belarus.
Human Rights Watch deputy Europe and central director Rachel Denber claimed it was "likely" independent journalists would be harassed by Belarusian authorities in the build-up to and during the European Games, due to run from June 21 to 30.
This is because Belarus has "a long and sorry history of contempt for media freedom", according to Denber.
Concerns have been raised regarding Belarus' human rights record and press freedoms ahead of the multi-sport event.
The regime led by President Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of persecuting non-Governmental organisations, independent journalists, national minorities and opposition politicians.
Germany had considered a boycott of the event following a series of arrests of journalists in Belarus before the country decided to send a team.
Belarus ranks 153th in the world for press freedoms, with only 27 other nations having a lower rating.
Human Rights Watch acknowledged improvement had been made in Belarus but warned 2019 was "on track to be one of the worst years for media freedom and freedom of expression in Belarus in the past decade".
"In the past two years, Belarusian authorities have further tightened regulations on online resources, carried out groundless searches of the editorial offices of several news organisations and increased prosecutions and other harassment of freelance journalists, ultimately initiating a record number of criminal charges against journalists and bloggers," Human Rights Watch said.
When it awarded the Games to Minsk in 2016, the EOC claimed an important aspect was to "make sure international media have free access to report on the Games preparation and to attend and report on the Games themselves".
Last year, the EOC confirmed free Internet access would be provided at the event.
"Media grievance systems have become an important new standard to advance media freedom around mega-events like the European Games,” said Gulnoza Said, Europe and Central Asia programme coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“In a repressive environment such as Belarus, it is essential for the European Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Committee to stand up for press freedom and ensure journalists can do their jobs safely."