Valiantsin Stefanovich: Web-sites Are Not Mass Media
The well-known human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich is sure that the actions of authorities taken against oppositional leader Andrei Klimau are non-legitimate. ‘The prosecutor’s actions are confusing. The article was published in Internet and the sites are not assigned to mass media by the law on mass media. It is attempted to stipulate their equal character in a new version of the law. It is to be mentioned that similar cases have been already brought. The information located in Internet was classified as ‘distribution of information containing slander against President of the Republic of Belarus’. It is advisable here to mention Viktar Ivashkevich’a and Rabochy newspaper case as well as the case of cartoons about Lukashenka. Such illegitimate practice has been already set up here,’ declared Mr. Stefanovich in his interview with the Charter’97 press-center.
The human rights activist remarks that the clauses stipulating responsibility for information distribution have been removed form the criminal codes of European countries.
’It refers to the civil responsibility, moreover, as far as such clauses as ‘defamation’ or ‘offense’ of President are concerned because President is a public figure and here we face different extent of permission for journalists and the society. We have to admit that even our close neighbors who are not the European Union members do not have such clauses. For example, in Russia and Ukraine. It is total nonsense”, Valiantsin Stefanovich said.
In the morning of 3 April the politician Andrei Klimau was arrested in Minsk. The police brought him to the prosecutor’s office in Minsk. Klimau is charged under part 3 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (calls for armed overthrow of the state system).
The criminal case was caused by Andrei Klimau’s publication under the title Revolution forever or How to slice the Gipsy hog in the year of swine located at the Internet site of the United Civil Party. Andrei Klimau writes in the article about Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s involvement in kidnapping and killing of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition.