Authorities disrupt round table on unlawful Internet restrictions

2010 2010-01-12T21:11:09+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Belarusian Language Society (BLS) named after Francysk Skaryna received a warning of the Ministry of Justice saying that discussion of draft decrees of Lukashenka contradicts to the organization’s charter.

The round table Belarusian Internet: State Restriction and Regulation’ was to have taken place on 12 January at the BLS office. A reason for the discussion was Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s draft decree On Measures Revising Use of the National Segment of the World Wide Web. Organizers invited representatives of the Belarusian Internet resources as experts.

This is said in the letter sent to the Belarusian Association of Journalists from the Young Public Administration Managers School, an organizer of the round table.

‘The attention of the authorities demonstrates that the theme of the decree is closed, the authorities are afraid of the public discussion’, the letter says.

The organizers promise to hold a round table discussion on the Internet in late January. Bear in mind that on 14 December mass media received the draft decree On Measures for Revising Use of the National Segment of the World Wide Web. The decree considerably increases the control of the authorities over Internet users and imposes a number of new conditions of using Internet in Belarus.

The scandalous document mentions blocking websites by the decision of state organs, identification of web users, responsibility for dissemination of information on the web, and state registration of online media.

According to the first version of the decree, hosting of all Belarusian websites is obligatory transferred to Belarus, and in order to access internet even in dial-up mode Belarusians would have to show passport to the provider first.

The international human rights organization Reporters Without Borders made a statement of protest expressing their concern over the plans of the Belarusian government to tighten control over the Internet.

‘It should be abandoned so that Belarus is not added to the list of countries such as North Korea, China and Iran that Reporters Without Borders has identified as Enemies of the Internet’, the statement says.