How many Belarusians use Internet?
The Ministry of Communication says there are 7 million, independent sources - 4 million, and "no one really knows the truth".
"A person who uses the Internet every day, or once a week, or once a year, or just stood behind somebody else’s back once? Some people count starting from 12 years old, others – from 15", founder of the portal TUT.by Yury Zisser tells Euroradio .
According to him, state and independent researchers use different methods, this is why they provide such different numbers.
Yury Zisser: "Genius counts those who really use the Internet by the panel – those who answer the questions. The Ministry of Communication counts the number of connections – this means, they count me when I am at home, at work, or use Internet via my mobile. I am presented in their statistics in three copies. This is their method – they count the number of connections".
Yury Zisser thinks that it is reasonable to ask people offline in order to know the truth.
BelStat informs that there are 6,8 million Internet-users in Belarus. This number has been provided to them by the Ministry of Communication. "The number of subscribers and users of wireless internet made 4,5 million, having increased by 34,2% for a year", stated in the report.
Head of the project Gemius Belarus Mikhail Darashevich gives absolutely different numbers.
Mikhail Darashevich: "We received the March numbers literally last week. In March, there were 4 million 290 thousand Internet-users aged 15 and more. By saying "Internet-user" we mean a person who used the Internet at least once a month. This is a standard definition, the world standard".
The expert urges to be careful with the numbers provided by BelStat and reminds that, according to them, 6 million Belarusians used the Internet back in 2007. If we assume that these numbers are true, this means that the number of Internet-users grew only by a million for 5 years! This contradicts the graphics.
Mikhail Darashevich: "It is written in their graphic: the number of subscribers and users. I don’t know how to understand this…There was a story when, according to the data provided by our national committees, there already were 6 million Internet-users. 61,93 per 100 residents. No one trusted this number and this led to correction…"
Theoretically, there may be 7 million. However, for which time period? For a year? For 5 years? The expert continues: "I am not against this, I am totally for this, for the 7 million".
The Ministry of Communication, in its turn, denies that there are mistakes in its calculations, and promises to provide the detailed methodology to Euroradio.