Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Information minister speaks out on pro-Russian columnists detentions

Euroradio

Information minister speaks out on pro-Russian columnists detentions
Photo: BELTA
Information Minister Liliya Ananich commented on the detentions of several columnists in Belarus for their anti-Belarusian articles on the Russian websotes. Belarusian law-enforcement authorities detained Yury Paulavets, Dzmitry Alimkin and Siarhei Shyptenka who cooperated with the Russian websites REGNUM, LENTA.RU and Eurasia Daily. The Investigations Committee has opened criminal proceedings against these men on charges of instigating interethnic hostility.

Commenting for BELTA Ananich reminded that her agency regularly monitors the country's information space. Since 2015 when amedments in the meda laws came into force, Information Ministry has restricted access to 88 information resources. Several websites received official warnings in 2016.

"Our analysis of the information space has detected the increasing number of openly destructive nature against Belarus, the state power in this country, Belarusian people in several online news media putlets," said the minister. In several publications on REGNUM, LENTA.RU, Eurasia Daily, the sovereignty of Belarus was doubted. The Belarusian people, its history, language and culture were degraded.

"REGNUM news agency has appeared as the most active outlet in this regard, degrading the work of the head of Belarusian state, government bodies in various fields - politics, economy, culture. Simultaneously, their rhetoric repeatedly suggested that "Belarus is drifting to the West", "anti-Russian policy of Belarusian authorities", etc.," explained Ananich.

She was particulary outraged by the article by Dzmitry Alimkin aka Ala Bron titled "Belarus is quitting Russian World quietly taking into account Ukraine's experience..." In the article, Belarus was described as "mad semi-state", while the author also claimed that the Belarusian language was invented to "gradually transform Russians into Poles."

Information Ministry had forwarded the articles in question to the National Expertise Commission, which confirmed the materials contained extremism calling for ethnic and social hostility. The materials were filed with the Investigation Committee, which opened criminal proceedings against the detained individuals.

According to Ananich, Information Ministry had also notified the Russian authorities. She alse stressed that "the customers and the authors of those articles try to seed hostility between our countries and peoples. This is clearly not the position of the Russian leadership. Rather, this is the stance of the destructive forces and circles, which try to disrupt our deely fraternal relations and the process of building the Union State."