Miklós Haraszti: “No tangible signs of improvement with regard to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression”
On October 29, Miklós Haraszti, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, is expected to present a report on freedom of expression in Belarus at a session of the UN General Assembly.
The report, which was prepared on the basis of the analysis of human rights information from many sources, including provided by the Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Human Rights Center "Viasna", says that the Special Rapporteur’s findings “show no tangible signs of improvement with regard to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression, despite continuous calls for reforms from civil society in the country and the international community”. “Restrictive, permission-based registration hampers the development of pluralistic and independent news media, suppresses freedom of expression online and stunts artistic creativity in the country. This oppressive regulatory environment is further aggravated by the harassment of any media outlet or person seeking to exercise the right to free speech,” says the report.
The report also contains recommendations that are intended to support Belarus in the preservation of freedom of expression enshrined in its Constitution and international obligations. “The findings of the report show that for over two decades, the established system of media governance has effectively stifled the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and information. Especially worrying in this regard is the adoption in December 2014 of amendments to the law on mass media, which have taken on the last vestiges of free expression, the Internet.”
See full text of the Report.