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Opinion: Belarus willing to commit to information neutrality


According to BelTA Belarus is willing to maintain information neutrality in international relations, Oleg Makarov, the director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, told the STV TV channel.

This week, Minsk will play host to the high-level international conference “Countering terrorism through innovative approaches and the use of new and emerging technologies”. Belarus will also take part in a session of the UN Open-ended Working Group on international information security due in New York on 9-13 September. The agenda of the session includes drawing up rules of conduct on the Internet and making recommendations on regulating relations in this area. Oleg Makarov noted that Belarus' position regarding matters on the agendas of these international events is laid down in the national information security concept. “Belarus is in favor of information neutrality and is ready to take on commitments not to use any means to harm other countries in the information space,” he said. Speaking about current threats in the information space, Oleg Makarov said that information systems, systems to protect secret information, and the Belarusian legislation keep up with the global level of development. At the same time he stressed that this is a very dynamic area. “Insecurity and security depend on how we and our security systems keep up with the development rate of the information society and deal with threats once they arise. At present, we can no longer say that some threats truly affect our consciousness and information networks, or affect them catastrophically, fatally,” Oleg Makarov said. “We are safe now but should not be idle. The situation changes rapidly,” he added. Oleg Makarov said that developing the information law is one of the principal objectives. “The information law is under development in the whole world, and Belarus plays an active role in this process. In the future, our national law will adopt international regulations developed with our participation,” he said. Oleg Makarov believes that fake news will soon lose their influence on people. According to him, the same is true concerning Telegram channels. “I think this is a natural process and it will pass. In my opinion, at present we are quite immune to advertising. In the past, we were more susceptible to the impact of advertising, but now we judge it critically. The same applies to fake news. People will learn to tell fake news from true news. This, too, is a natural process,” Oleg Makarov said. He also noted that the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, which was established in 2019, has recruited almost all the staff. It included representatives of the academic community, analysts from government agencies and non-governmental organizations. The staff will comprise less than 50 members which is a standard number of people in similar institutes in other countries. A third of the staff consists of scientists with a degree. “We are ready to carry out scientific research, both applied and fundamental,” Oleg Makarov added.

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