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