According to BelTA a majority of Belarusian websites already identify their users one way or another, BelTA learned from the latest interview of Belarusian First Deputy Information Minister Pavel Legky with the TV channel STV.
Legislation has been passed to require all the Belarusian websites to start identifying their users as from 1 December with a focus on being able to identify them in real life. The registration of websites as mass media also began on 1 December. “I think the move has primarily affected the professional community. Because the society is a large ‘layer cake'. It is understandable there are multiple social groups but I don't think an overwhelming majority of the Belarusian society is concerned about these things. Nevertheless, a rather significant part, a considerable social group has responded to the move,” said the official. Speaking about how the novelty will work in practice, Pavel Legky said he did not expect any major changes. “A majority of Belarusian websites use user identification one way or another. Those, who opt for SMS identification, will have it simple. If it turns out that the person has used someone else's mobile phone or the person does not exist in real life, the Information Ministry will demand that the owner of the website must terminate its service agreement with the user,” said the first deputy information minister. Other ways to identify website users in real life were mentioned. “The situation is slightly different for those, whose users are allowed to sign in via social networks or email. We are primarily focused on the responsibility of the website's owner in this regard. The owner may face consequences specified by the Mass Media Law. But in any case the Information Ministry will try not to issue warnings left, right, and center but will focus on preventive measures instead,” said the official. The first deputy information minister mentioned what the Belarusian websites, which have become mass media, can expect. “They will be treated just like other mass media – printed and digital ones. Their reporters will be able to attend events, receive accreditation. They will be able to attend events, which had been unavailable to them before, let's say, meetings in government agencies, mass public events. They will not have problems with that,” explained the official. He added that the first few applications for website registration as mass media had already been received.
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