The international human rights organisation Reporters Without Borders have made a statement of protest expressing their concern over the plans of the Belarusian government to tighten control over Internet.
The matter concerns the decree On Measures for Revising Use of the National Segment of the World Wide Web which appeared in the press on December 14, 2009. The organisation attracts attention to the fact that the freedom of speech in
Belarus is considerably limited even without that.
We must emphasize our concern about this bill, which threatens online free speech and everyone's right to express their views anonymously without fear of government repression, Reporters Without Borders said. After placing most of the
traditional media under its control, the regime is pursuing an offensive against new media.
The press freedom organisation added: The president's attempts to be reassuring cannot hide the repressive nature of this bill, which is liable to make netizens censor themselves. It should be abandoned so that Belarus is not added to the list
of countries such as North Korea, China and Iran that Reporters Without Borders has identified as Enemies of the Internet.
The scandalous internet law proposal mentions blocking websites by the decision of state organs, identification of web users, responsibility for dissemination of information on the web, and state registration of online media.
According to the first version of the decree, hosting of Belarusian websites is obligatory transferred to Belarus, and in order to access internet even in dial-up mode, Belarusians would have to show passport to the provider first.
A new Belarus Internet censorship law will be applied from September 1.
Access restrictions are as follows:
The Belarusian State Telecommunication Inspection makes a list of forbidden websites on the ground of proposals of appropriate governmental bodies. Legal persons, individual entrepreneurs and concerned citizens have the right to help the
governmental bodies to prepare the lists. An IP address, domain name, or an URL may serve as an identifier of a banned Internet resource. If a Belarusian site is included in the black list, the owner will receive a notice about putting the
website on the blocklist.
4. Websites can also be removed from the blacklist. A decision on removal of the Internet resource identifiers from the restriction list must be taken by the governmental body that earlier put the website on the list.
Information aimed at extremist activity, illicit circulation of weapons, ammunition, detonators, explosives, radioactive, contaminating, aggressive, poisonous, and toxic substances, drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors;
assisting illegal migration and human trafficking; spreading pornography; promulgating violence, brutality, and other acts prohibited by law is banned