Updated at 14:58,21-10-2016

Council of Ministers Discussing Decree on Internet Control

23-12-2009, 16:27

A final variant of the Decree on Measures for Revising Use of the National Segment of the World Wide Web may be signed on December 24.

The Council of Ministers has been discussing Lukashenkas draft decree limiting the work of Internet resources for the second day. Euroradio learnt about this from Uladzimir Stauski, executive director of Belinfokom association, which analyzed the document and sent remarks on it to the Ministry of Communication and Analytical Center under the president.

"We have some proposals, which we have sent to the Ministry of Communication. Weve sent a letter and remarks, this is a very large document. It has already been prepared. We had the second session of the Council of Ministers yesterday, the first one was held a day before. Some of our proposals have been adopted, but we do not know which. Some proposals havent been taken into account," Uladzimir Stauski said.

Yury Zisser, the general director of "Nadezhnye Programmy" company, who took part in work over remakrs, states the Council of Ministers relaxed the most controversial phrasings, but didnt remove them.

For instance, in accordance with item 1.4 of the draft decree not only court but also "authorized governmental agencies as well as investigative agencies, prosecutors, preliminary instigation and tax bodies have the right to suspend rendering services to a providers users if there are sufficient grounds to believe that continuation of access to these services would contribute to commission of an offence". Zisser says the Council of Ministers took into account an opinion of experts on this item and removed it from the draft decree, but "the mechanism of extrajudicial order of closing websites was preserved".

The expert noted that a number of other phrasings in the draft decree can be criticized: "For example, item 1 says that rendering any services on the Internet, including information and advertising ones, with the help of resources registered in international domain zones or zones outside Belarus is banned on the territory of Belarus. So, Google and Mail.ru will be forbidden!"

As charter97.org has already informed, a document executed as Lukashenkas draft decree on Measures for Revising Use of the National Segment of the World Wide Web appeared on the Internet on December 14. The draft provides for significant restriction of activity of news websites.

The scandalous document concerns blocking websites on a decision of governmental bodies, identification of Internet users, bringing persons spreading information on the Internet to responsibility and state registration of the Internet media.

According to the initial draft decree, Belarusian resources must be hosted in Belarus, moreover, Belarusians will have to show a provider their IDs to be able to use even a dial-up connection. A final variant of the decree may be signed on December 24.