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Stand up for Journalism campaign: Journalists and bloggers from Belarus united for free Internet


According to EuroBelarus Belarusian Association of Journalists joined the European campaign of solidarity. On November 5, BAJ held an online conference on questions of regulating belarusian internet.

Traditionally, November 5 is the time of Stand up for Journalism campaign. Luckily, this is the first time in years that no journalist is in the middle of a legal suit for defamation, libel, publication of extremist materials or work without some registration, press service of BAJ writes.

Still, with the seeming freedom of speech all over, there is the Damocles sword of the Ministry of Information who enjoy freedoms far broader.

The Internet is becoming one of the main sources of information for audiences in Belarus, no wonder it gains more and more attention of all sorts of people: somebody wants to have larger outreach for their issues, others aspire to gain profit or control, whatever they like.

So, this year journalists and bloggers stand up for free Internet.

At the end of 2014, Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Mass Media tightening state control on mass media. Now websites also have their censor, the Ministry of Information, who can restrict access to any website upon a request of anyone.

Last year a number of independent websites were blocked. This year blockings reoccurred again. In some cases, it was at least clear who did it and for what (the blocking of kyky.org); in other cases, nobody got responsible. Hacker attacks, or whatever it was, on websites of BelaPAN and some other news providers in December 2014 and at the beginning of October 2015 stayed uninvestigated.

On November 5, BAJ held an online conference on questions of regulating ByNet, guests of the conference were Mikhail Doroshevich (#DB3 / Gemius Belarus) and Aliaksei Kazliuk (Center for Legal Transformation Lawtrend).

Vitebsk branch of BAJ held a contest for the best logo of the campaign.

The next year, some amendments on storage of data of online operations come into effect. Meanwhile, the authorities voiced their inclination to do their best to block VPNs and proxy servers.

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