Freedom House: There Is Practically No Freedom of Press in Belarus
Freedom House published its regular report about the situation with the freedom of the press. “Of the 195 countries and territories examined in the survey, three of the 10 worst press freedom abusers — Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan — are found in the former Soviet Union”, the report says.
Belarus criminally prosecutes for defamation of the authorities and restricts Internet. The report speaks about the amendments to the Criminal Code, which introduced criminal responsibility for “discrediting Belarus” before international organizations and foreign governments. The report mentions the attempts of authorities to control the Internet, especially during election campaigns. It speaks about facts of blocking the web-sites which belonged to political parties in opposition, NGOs, and independent mass media.
Freedom House states that “the Belarusian regime has both the desire and the possibilities to limit the openness of the Internet. These possibilities are much wider than just blocking and filtering the Internet”
The report says, “the threat to openness of the Internet in Belarus will grow, when the law which increases the state’s control over the internet will come into force, giving the authorities an opportunity to regulate and block the internet. The growing pressure also leads to self-censorship”, Freedom House points out.