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  • Statement on the Massive Blocking of Websites

    Since December 19, several informational Internet resources in Belarus have been subject to blocking. Most of them remain inaccessible from the territory of the country until now. In particular, users’ access to belapan.com and belapan.by, naviny.by, belaruspartisan.org, charter97.org, udf.by, 21.by, gazetaby.com, zautra.by have been restricted without explanations.

    Belaru­sian Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists con­sid­er that the block­ing of socio-polit­i­cal web­sites, for which no one has tak­en respon­si­bil­i­ty yet, is a com­plete break­down of law and order. There are no any legal grounds to restrict access of Belaru­sian cit­i­zens to infor­ma­tion about events in the coun­try.

    Such actions on the eve of the forth­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in fact deprive elec­toral cam­paigns of any sense, because de fac­to a state of emer­gency was imposed on infor­ma­tion in the coun­try. This total­ly breaks all inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions of Belarus in the sphere of free media, and con­tra­dicts to the ear­li­er voiced inten­tions of the author­i­ties to improve rela­tions with the West.

    It is obvi­ous that the attacks on inde­pen­dent media cause even high­er dis­be­lief in what Belaru­sian offi­cial sources claim. This can only wors­en the sit­u­a­tion, includ­ing the eco­nom­ic con­di­tions. Lack of alter­na­tive, pro­fes­sion­al­ly pre­pared infor­ma­tion will fos­ter most unbe­liev­able rumors about the real sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try.

    BAJ demands that the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion of Belarus, the Oper­a­tive Ana­lyt­i­cal Cen­ter under the aus­pices of the Pres­i­dent of Belarus, the Gen­er­al prosecutor’s office, and all bod­ies pos­si­bly involved in the unlaw­ful block­ings:

    • Take urgent mea­sures to restore access to the men­tioned web­sites;
    • Hold an inquiry into the unlaw­ful block­ing of access to the men­tioned web­sites in the ter­ri­to­ry of Belarus;
    • Iden­ti­fy per­sons respon­si­ble for the vio­la­tions of law and hold them account­able accord­ing to leg­is­la­tion of Belarus.


    Adopt­ed by the Board of BAJ

    22 Decem­ber 2014

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