The blocking of access to the Charter’97 Web-site was the second decision of the Ministry of Information of Belarus within a month’s term to restrict access to popular informational Web-resources on the territory of Belarus. It should be reminded that another decision to disable access to the ‘Belarusian Partisan’ (belpartisan.org) Web-site was taken by the Ministry in December 2017.
In both cases the decisions on restricting freedom of expression were taken in a nontransparent way without a notice with indication of materials, which were kept in mind as the ground for blocking, as well without any explanation on the ways the materials violated the Belarusian legislation. Court verdicts were absent in both cases, too.
The statement on the Web-site of Ministry of Information that blames the ‘Charter’97’(charter97.org) Web-site for publishing information that is banned for distribution is very broad and indefinite.
Therefore, we demand the Ministry of Information to present:
concrete claims and materials, which were used as a reason for blocking access to the ‘Charter’97’(charter97.org) and earlier ‘Belarusian Partisan’ (belpartisan.org) Web-sites;
precise decisions of courts or other bodies on restricting access to the Web-sites.
We regard the blocking of access to 'Charter'97' and ‘Belarusian Partisan’ (belpartisan.org) Web-sites as unacceptable restriction of the freedom of expression that grossly violates articles 33 and 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the country's international obligations.
We would like to draw attention to the absolutely non-transparent and non-judicial nature of taking the decisions on blocking access to the Web-sites by the Ministry of Information of Belarus.
We urge the Ministry of Information to cancel the decision on blocking the sociopolitical Web-sites Charter’97 and belpartisan.org and resume open access to them.
Adopted by the Board of Belarusian Association of Journalists on January 25, 2018