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  • Stand Up For Online Freedom

    On November 5, BAJ held an online conference on questions of regulating ByNet.

    Tra­di­tion­al­ly, Novem­ber 5 is the time of Stand up for Jour­nal­ism cam­paign. Luck­i­ly, this is the first time in years that no jour­nal­ist is in the mid­dle of a legal suit for defama­tion, libel, pub­li­ca­tion of extrem­ist mate­ri­als or work with­out some reg­is­tra­tion (and we hope that in the sto­ry of espi­onage, the KGB for­got to close the case of Mr Alesin, and will do it soon).

    Still, with the seem­ing free­dom of speech all over, there is the Damo­cles sword of the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion who enjoy free­doms far broad­er.

    The Inter­net is becom­ing one of the main sources of infor­ma­tion for audi­ences in Belarus, no won­der it gains more and more atten­tion of all sorts of peo­ple: some­body wants to have larg­er out­reach for their issues, oth­ers aspire to gain prof­it or con­trol, what­ev­er they like.

    So, this year jour­nal­ists and blog­gers stand up for free Inter­net.

    At the end of 2014, Par­lia­ment adopt­ed amend­ments to the Law on Mass Media tight­en­ing state con­trol on mass media. Now web­sites also have their cen­sor, the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion, who can restrict access to any web­site upon a request of any­one.

    Last year a num­ber of inde­pen­dent web­sites were blocked. This year block­ings reoc­curred again. In some cas­es, it was at least clear who did it and for what (the block­ing of kyky.org); in oth­er cas­es, nobody got respon­si­ble. Hack­er attacks, or what­ev­er it was, on web­sites of Bela­PAN and some oth­er news providers in Decem­ber 2014 and at the begin­ning of Octo­ber 2015 stayed unin­ves­ti­gat­ed.

    On Novem­ber 5, BAJ held an online con­fer­ence on ques­tions of reg­u­lat­ing ByNet, guests of the con­fer­ence were Mikhail Dara­she­vich (Gemius Belarus) and Ali­ax­ei Kazliuk (Cen­ter for Legal Trans­for­ma­tion Lawtrend)(text ver­sion of the con­fer­ence com­ing soon).

    BAJ is going to clar­i­fy more details about how the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion oper­ates, how many deci­sions to restrict access to web­sites were tak­en, what’s the most fre­quent pro­ce­dure applied (basic mech­a­nism is described in the info­graph­ic below).

    Viteb­sk branch of BAJ held a con­test for the best logo of the cam­paign.



    The next year, some amendments on storage of data of online operations come into effect. Meanwhile, the authorities voiced their inclination to do their best to block VPNs and proxy servers.

    Relat­ed arti­cles:

    Reg­u­la­tion of ByNet

    Infor­ma­tion Min­istry Blocks 26 Web­sites in 2015

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