Massive blocking of access to the media today in Belarus
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) in demanding the immediate lifting of blocking measures on news websites in Belarus.
On Friday evening, the Belarusian Ministry of Information announced that it had blocked a large number of news websites and websites of civil society organisations. 73 websites in total. Among the blocked sites: Belsat, By.tribuna.com, Euroradio, Goalsby, Masheka.by, Narodnye novosti Vitebsk, Radio Liberty, Solidarity, Svadoba, Udf.by, The Village, Vitebsk Kurier…
Since 9 August, BAJ’s website has been blocked in Belarus. The EFJ affiliate in Belarus is using its Telegram channel to share the most important news about the situation in the media sector in the country.
On Friday, under the pretext of technical problems with the printing machine, the state Publishing House interrupted the printing of the daily newspapers “Narodnaya Volya” and “Komsomolskaya Pravda”. BAJ documented several other cases of newspapers that could not be printed “for technical reasons” since 9 August.
“These censorship measures are clearly undemocratic,” said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “According to the international legal framework, any measure taken by State authorities to block, filter or remove Internet content must be prescribed by a clear law and must at the same time be necessary in a democratic society and proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. The measures taken in Belarus totally violate this legal framework.”
The EFJ and BAJ demand the immediate unblocking of blocked sites and the reinstatement of daily newspaper circulation. They call on the European Union to take targeted individual sanctions against the politicians and administrative officials who carried out the blockades.
#Belarus: 73 websites have been blocked by the Belarusian Ministry of Information since Friday evening, including @RFERL @euroradio @Belsat_TV and many more. We join @baj_by and @EFJEUROPE in demanding immediate unblocking of all websites!https://t.co/tJWBB8MLz7
— ARTICLE 19 ECA (@article19europe) August 22, 2020
❗️Belarusian authorities have blocked most independent online media in the country. At the moment there are problems with access to the following websites:
And many more. 73 websites in total!
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) August 21, 2020
Belarusians have difficulties accessing a number of websites,including independent media, such as @RFERL, @Belsat_TV, @euroradio, and more. Such a coincidence that it's happening right before the weekend, when major protests are planned. The right to information is not respected
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) August 21, 2020