The Belarusian Association of Journalists has sent to each member of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus their comments and suggestions regarding the amendments to the Law on Mass Media.
Each member of the Belarusian parliament has also received by e-mail the statement adopted by the BAJ Congress. The statement says that on 19 April, the House of Representatives of the National Assembly passed in its first reading a draft law providing for introduction of major changes in the media legislation.
Comments and suggestions of the Belarusian Association of Journalists have not been taken into account during the consideration of this draft law. Suggestions of other representatives of the media sector have also not been heard. No international examination of the draft has been carried out.
In this regard, BAJ has called upon the Belarusian authorities to:
· discuss the proposed changes to the media legislation with the participation of Belarusian and international experts, representatives of the media sector, business and society;
· revise the draft law in its second reading taking into account all the opinions (including the comments and suggestions of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, which were submitted to the House of Representatives);
· recognise the right of freelancers to collect and disseminate information in domestic and foreign media.
In addition, each Member of Parliament has received proposals from the Belarusian media community.
We shall remind that last week, the House of Representatives passed amendments to the Law on Mass Media in their first reading. Prior to that, the Permanent Commission on Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media asked the Belarusian Association of Journalists to make their comments and suggestions on the draft law.
BAJ sent their comments and suggestions sent to the House of Representatives on 9 April; however, the appropriate commission has failed to review the document so far.