Statement of Belarusian Association of Journalists
The Belarusian Association of Journalists expresses its protest in relation with the adoption of a new Law «On Mass Media» after the 2nd reading by the Chamber of Representatives at the National Assembly of Belarus.
Not only is the freedom of speech among the most important civil and political rights. Moreover, it forms a criterion that ensures implementation of other human rights. Consequently, in our opinion it is unacceptable to consider and adopt a legal act that infringes upon this fundamental right, stipulated in two articles of Constitution of Belarus (art. 33 and art.34), in such a hasty way.
We are sure that such laws have to be adopted after their comprehensive consideration and discussion with all the interested people and organizations as well as on carrying out their public
discussion and international expert examinations.
We would like to emphasize that the Belarusian state authorities promised to send the draft bill on the media to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly for holding a legal examination. However, they failed to keep their promises.
The haste with adoption of the media law reveals its repressive and restrictive core. The assumption gets confirmed by the contents of the legal act.
The Media Law:
• introduces the necessity of registration of Web-editions and puts
control over the Internet from the side of the Ministry of Information
and the Public Prosecutor’s Office;
• requires re-registration of all media outlets as soon as the law
comes into force;
• broadens considerably possibilities of closing down media outlets by
the state authorities;
• complicates the activity and increases the pressure on independent
journalists and foreign correspondents;
We would like to remind the members of the Chamber of Representatives about their responsibility for the decisions they take and call upon the Council of Republic to turn down the Law «On the Media» and send it back for revision.
We appeal to the Belarusian and international community members with a request to express their attitude towards the legal act that infringes upon the Belarusian citizens’ right to receive and distribute the unbiased information and to express their personal views and opinions.
Adopted by the Board of Belarusian Association of Journalists