2010 08/02


The new law should not become a “limitation of freedom of speech in Internet.” This is the opinion of OSCE representative on mass media freedom, Miklosh Harashtsi.

“That is good, that during last two or three years the Belarusian authorities tried to refrain from any actions against journalists, closure of newspapers, excessive use of powers of the Ministry of Information – said Harashtsi to BelaPAN. – But we should not forget that the laws that permit these are still valid, though not yet applied.

Harashtsi said that the abolition of laws that can be used to put pressure on journalists, would be a “sign of this progress.” “Now this is only a respite, but not the progress” – he stressed.

Harashtsi also noted that the OSCE are concerned about the draft of a law on the regulation of the Belarusian national segment of Internet. “As in many other countries, Internet in Belarus is almost the only source of comprehensive information – he said. – Television in Belarus does not allow for pluralism, the position of independent newspapers is very fragile, so we are very concerned about the possible limitations in Internet.”

According to Harashtsi, he sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Siarhey Martynau, in which he called to do everything possible to assure that the new law did not become “the limitation of freedom of speech in Internet.”

Taking into consideration that year 2010 is the year of election campaigns in Belarus, Harashtsi noted that he recommends the Belarusian authorities to ensure “the access to television” to all political parties. “Television in Belarus is the source from which most citizens get their information, so all political parties should be able to use it to express their point of view,” – said Harashtsi.

Source: spring96.org

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