Belapan and naviny.by resume work despite blockage
BelaPAN news agency has not received any official warning regarding the blockage and says there are no legal grounds to block the websites.
BelaPAN has released a statement on the issue:
“The IP addresses of BelaPAN’s websites belapan.by, belapan.com and naviny.by continue to be blocked.
Access to the websites was blocked at about 7 p.m. on December 20. The sites are registered in the .by domain zone and located on the Belarusian web hosting platform. After changing the IP addresses on December 21, BelaPAN made the sites accessible to users again, but the new IP addresses were re-blocked at 2 p.m. on the same day. It is still unknown who made the decision to block BelaPAN’s websites and who ensures the blockage technically. The hosting company and state monopolist Beltelekam (Beltelecom) have said that they have no knowledge of this. BelaPAN’s attempts to get an answer from the Ministry of Information have also proved futile.
BelaPAN’s websites belapan.com and naviny.by are currently accessible despite the continuing blockage. We believe that there may be new attempts to block them, but we are not going to put up with these illegal actions. BelaPAN has not received any official warning or notification about the blockage and believes that there are no legal grounds for it.
We view the blockage of the websites of BelaPAN and other media outlets as a flagrant violation of the constitution, which guarantees the right to disseminate information, the Media Law and Belarus’ commitments in the fields of human rights, freedom of expression and media freedom.
We demand that the government agencies responsible for the media and the web resources sector should launch a probe into the illegal blockage of the sites and publish the results of the probe,” the statement says.
Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed a new law on the mass media on December 20. Under the law, all websites in Belarus are considered to be media outlets and can be blocked for just one violation. The bill, which was introduced by the Council of Ministers, and adopted by the “parliament.”
Belarusian authorities blocked a number of independent sites, including charter97.org, on December 19. Access to the websites from Belarus remains restricted or unavailable.