ARTICLE-19 Points Out Belarus’ Violation of Freedom of Media 11:03, 26/04/2002
In its 2001 report The Mechanics of Repression: Presidential Election Update, ARTICLE 19 - the Global campaign for free expression - made 9 key recommendations to the Belarusian authorities, which, if implemented, would enable the media to operate free of direct or indirect pressure by the authorities, and ensure Belarus’ full compliance with its international obligations. The recommendations were, for the most part, ignored by the Belarusian government.
“The legal acts drafted or implemented by the Republic of Belarus in recent months constitute yet additional hindrances to the work of the non-State media and to Belarus’ stated aspirations of becoming a full member of international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE. All pieces of legislation analysed in this report show that the Belarusian authorities are attempting to restrict the flow of information and protect government officials from criticism. Moreover, while the initial drafts of the laws on Mass Media and Information Security were woefully inadequate, the fact that the changes introduced following consultations with domestic and international NGOs and IGOs have been purely cosmetic reveals that the Belarusian authorities simply do not appreciate the magnitude of the task facing them in meeting Belarus’ human rights commitments. This report is intended to complement previous recommendations and to serve as a constructive contribution to improving legislation impacting the right to free expression in Belarus. It is essential that the authorities take urgent steps to introduce the improvements necessary for Belarus to fully respect its international human rights commitments in the media sphere,” – reads Article-19 report.
In its latest report the organization proposes a list of recommendations too, including cancellation of mandatory registration for printed media, Internet media and broadcasters, cancellation of legal persecution for false news, cancellation of practice of stripping edition of its license, cessation of information security system.