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In Belarus, the first reading of the bill on pre-trial blocking of social networks and user identification

The Parliament of Belarus adopted in the first reading the draft law “On Amendments and Additions to Some Laws of Belarus,” TUT.by reported . The bill was supported by 98 deputies of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, two more voted against.

Deputies also approved changes to the law on the media. They presuppose thevoluntary registration of online publications, without which the employees of the Internet media will not be considered journalists, and state bodies will have the right to refuse them accreditation.

The document also sets limits on foreign participation in Belarusian media. Thus, only the citizen of Belarus can be the editor-in-chief of the publication, however, residents can work in the editorial office. If the share of foreign capital in the legal entity fund is 20% or more, then such an organization can not act as a founder of the media. The production of foreign media can not be distributed without a permit, and the editorial offices of TV channels will have to ensure the broadcasting of at least 30% of the national production broadcasts on a weekly basis.

 The bill also introduces mandatory identification of those who post materials on the Internet, including commentators on the forums. The procedure for identifying users is determined by the Council of Ministers, but the Minister of Information of the country Alexander Karlyukevich suggested that, probably, “a message will be sent via SMS”.

“Belarusian Association of Journalists” believes that in fact “mandatory Internet resource moderation” is envisaged , as well as the possibility of blocking social networks . Restriction of access to network resources will be carried out extrajudicially. For online publications, it will entail the cancellation of the registration certificate, also without trial.

As noted by the agency Belta, the document also expanded the list of types of information that is prohibited for distribution. To her were added information that encouraged suicide, “improper advertising”, information about the methods of manufacturing explosives and explosives. Personal data of minors who have suffered due to unlawful acts will be protected.

Karliukevich explained that changes in the law on the media are connected with “harmonization of the Belarusian legislation with the legislation of Russia and Kazakhstan”. The deputy commission in turn concluded that the document “is aimed at protecting state and public interests, national security”.

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