Beltelecom refrains from comments on blockage of "Charter'97"
Belarusian Internet users continue experience problems with access to the popular socio-political web resource charter97.org.
On August 15, the website was blocked in Belarus for several hours. Clients of the Internet providers Byfly, Atlant Telecom, Kosmos TV, Velcom, MTS, Life, Belinfonet and other smaller ISPs have problems with opening the website.
Asked by Radio "Liberty" about problems with accessing the website, Beltelecom's spokesman Andrei Abramenka answered: “No comments.”
Volha Aheyenka, the director of the National Traffic Exchange Centre, said to journalists: “Problems with opening the website Charter'97 for users from Belarus hit practically all Beltelecom clients. Beltelecom has access to international telecommunications networks and has ties with international operators to receive access to the Internet and give it to Belarusian users. 99% of Belarusian users are Beltelecom customers. We do not have end users. We do not work with individuals. Our users did not complain.”
The National Traffic Exchange Centre is controlled by the Operational and Analytical Centre under the aegis of Lukashenka's administration (OAC). The OAC is responsible for making the blacklist of websites, access to which is restricted in government agencies, cultural and educational establishments. The blacklist includes Charter'97, the Internet exchange officer Prokopovich, Yauhen Lipkovich's LJ blog, the website of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and other "websites with terrorist or pornographic content".
The OAC's representative said the center “does not deal with such questions” and advised to contact the state telecommunications supervision.
The telecommunications supervision earlier answered Valiantsin Stafanovich's question about the blocking of Viasna's website in government agencies: “No legislative acts regulate the power of the State Supervision for Telecommunications on spreading the information about identifiers of Internet websites from the list of restricted access.”
Charter97.org was included in the blacklist on the initiative of the Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus. It became known on April 11, 2011. Pavel Radzivonau, the head of the department for implementation of legislation and legality of legal acts of the Prosecutor General's Office, said at a briefing: “The websites posted the information that violated the Belarusian legislation, in particular, calls to take part in unsanctioned events.”
A representative of the Prosecutor General's Office told Radio "Liberty" that his agency didn't bear any relation to the blocking.
Asked if the KGB had any relation to the problems with access to the website, the KGB's spokesman Artur Strekh answered: “No.”
Natallia Aliashkevich, the aide to the minister of communications and informatisation, thinks byfly customers should contact Beltelecom in case of problems: “Our ministry does not bear any relation to it. Once we are speaking about byfly ISP, you should contact Beltelecom for comments.”
Problems with access to the website began at around 6:00 p.m. on August 14. Visitors wrote they couldn't open the site in Belarus, but could visit it using proxies (Opera Turbo or anonymisers).
It was figured out that the site was blocked on the gateway of Belpak data network (Beltelecom's subdivision), the upstream provider for other ISPs.
Earlier, Russia's backbone telecommunications provider Rostelecom put charter97.org on the blacklist. As a result, the website was blocked for all users. Access to the webstie for Belarusian users was unblocked some hours later. Roskomnadzor, Russia's media watchdog, put several articles of Charter'97 on the blacklist.