Chamber of Representatives to Consider Draft Law on Information at Its Spring Session

2007 2007-03-14T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


At the spring session of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly, which is to open 2 April to the bill On Information and Information Protection is going to be considered. It is envisaged to enhance responsibility for violation of state monopoly on information security. Violation of the information law will involve disciplinary, administrative and even criminal responsibility, RFE/RL reports.

According to the official information, the Soviet of Ministers submitted the bill On Information and Information Protection to the House of Representatives on 1 March 2007. But T.Safronenka, deputy chairman of the permanent commission on industry, fuel and energy complex, transport and communication and entrepreneurship, who is responsible for preparation of the bill hearing, told that she was not in position of discussing the document.

According to the press-service report of the Chamber of Representatives, the adopted bill will fill in the legal blanks in individual access to public information, information security of the state, information exchange including international information as well as the responsibility to the law.

However, the text of the bill is kept secret .The document is displayed in the form of announcement at the legal portal accumulating all legislative acts.

Editor of the analytical bulletin of the BelaPAN Aliaksandr Klaskouski dwells on such secrecy in the following way:

’A priory, there are certain signs which put the media circles on their guard, for example, confidentiality of the bill discussion. Actually, it is impossible to find the bill in Internet. Secondly, as far as the bill’s title is concerned it sounds similar to the other bill On information security initiated several years ago by Mr. Charhinets. The project was negatively accepted by the public and, supposedly, for that reason it was shelved. Isn’t the new bill a remake of the former one? And finally, the statement of deputy Zabalotets in his interview with the BelTA that this bill will confine the information against goodwill of companies and people. It also sounds threatening because subject to this law any criticism of the government in mass media may involve the responsibility and this way it may be terminated.

According to Aliaksandr Klaskouski, there is a threat that after adoption of the bill an indirect censorship will be introduced in Internet, which at present remains the only free information media for alternative thoughts presentation.

It is the ministry of communication that is the initiator of this innovation. And it is this institution and Beltelecom, its subordinate that supervise the activities of Internet providers in Belarus.

Information on the new bill may be found in the interview of deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Siarhei Zabalotets with the BelTA agency. Zabalotets literally declared the following: it is offered to prohibit distribution of the information against the dignity, honor and business reputation of corporations and individuals. The information, which may negatively affect its owner or user, is to be protected.

To provide security of the state information systems databases the bill determines legal, organizational and technical protection measures: agreements between information owners and users, special mode of access to locations of material information carriers, supervision system. Charges including criminal ones will be brought against the law violators.

Until now the disputes concerning dignity and honor offense have been solved in the court subject to the administrative code .The maximal penalty has been material compensation determined by the court statement.

Still earlier the information appeared that there was a government regulation subject to which, supposedly, the state officials could not make personal comments on economic topics but they had to coordinate the viewpoints and formulate a general position on this or that economic subject. However at one of the press conferences the question was asked if such regulation existed and a deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Siamashka replied that there was no restriction for state officials in terms of comments on the economic situation. And he also emphasized that there is a press- service in every institution for explaining their positions.