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Human rights activist asks Prosecutor's Office to check publication on government-run website for extremism

2016 2016-02-09T12:22:50+0300 2016-02-09T12:22:50+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Tatsiana Reviaka, member of the Board of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, has sent an appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office of Mahilioŭ asking the officials to check a publication on the website, which she says may contain elements of extremism.

The appeal stems from a series of publications about “citizen D.”, which stress the person’s belonging to the transgender group and use derogatory statements towards representatives of sexual minorities in general.

The publication entitled “Mom, Three Daughters and… Mom’s Gentleman. What’s the Children’s Life’s Like?” was published on the website of the government-run newspaper Vecherniy Mogilyov. It opens with a quotation from a letter reportedly received by the editorial office. “Our village is home to the notorious person – transsexual D. A year ago you wrote about him, and then our village was visited by the opposition who made their report. Probably, D. has high patrons, because M’s three daughters are still living in the family. Our village is small, and children complain that this man mocks, insults and beats them,” says an anonymous resident of the village of Makarancy.

Further, the publication provides conclusions of various government agencies, which fully refute the above allegations.

Despite this, the website still contains a message signed by the ‘outraged residents of Makarancy, Mahilioŭ district’, which is identical to what was called a ‘letter from the villagers’, as well as a message without a signature: “After reading the article “Transsexual Person Taken into Custody for the First Time in the History of Belarus” my hair stood on end. It’s so horrible that a girl could have changed her sex. And then she is allowed to adopt a child, and now that ‘something’ dares bring up three more girls. Where are our officials and law enforcement agencies? The publication pays too much attention to the transsexual person, but for some reason no one is bothered by the fate of the children. If we unleash them, tomorrow, like in Holland, we will have gay parades with juvenile justice. Nightmare and nothing else.

Dissemination of untrue information, which discredits the honor and dignity of the citizen, should be prosecuted by law.

Earlier, the same website published an article entitled “Transsexual Person Taken into Custody for the First Time in the History of Belarus”. As a result of a probe, the Ministry of Information told the owner of the website to exercise more control over the content of publications. For disclosure of sensitive data specified in the publication, Judge Stanislau Leuchanka of the Mahilioŭ Regional Court was subjected to disciplinary action in the form of a reprimand.

Ms. Reviaka notes that according to the law, extremist activities are “planning, organizing, preparing and carrying out actions aimed at, inter alia, promoting the exclusivity, superiority or inferiority of citizens on the grounds of their religion, social, racial, ethnic, religious or linguistic affiliation.” Extremist publications are “information products intended for public use, public dissemination or distribution in any manner, which contains calls for extremist activity that promotes such activities.”

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