The Ministry of Information issued a warning to Nasha Niva newspaper for eight comments on the website; the warning dated March 14 says the comments “might damage national interests of Belarus”.
The website explains that the comments: contained sharp criticism of the incumbent authorities; published the schedule of planned unsanctioned actions of “not-parasites” in the regions; gave sharp assessment of the physical state of the incumbent representatives of power; sharply criticized the detentions of activists, in particular the violent detention of Zmitser Dashkevich in the street by plain-clothed policemen; sharp criticism of the monument to a historical policeman in Minsk center and support of the performance (‘”hanging” the policeman) implemented by leftist activists.
The editorial office iinformed that the comments under consideration had been deleted. NN informs also that comments on the website are premoderated: editors process around 1200 cmments a day, and delete around 20 per cent of them. The editorial office called on its readers to keep calm, promised harsher moderation; dubious comments will be deleted, because empires fall, but the newspaper has to survive.
We remind that according to law, a website editorial office is responsible for comments of its visitors.
Two warnings give the Information Ministry the right to sue a newspaper editorial office in court to close it down.
Anyway, the existing legislation allows the Ministry to block a website with its own extra-judicial decision.