The opposition political parties are going to appeal to the international institutions calling on them to put the “MPs” voted for the Law on Mass Media on the list of restricted to travel to EU countries and the USA.
“Political parties plan to address the governments of the EU countries and the USA, calling on them to put the members of the Belarusian “parliament”, who voted for the Law on Media, depriving independent journalist of the last opportunity to work, on the list of restricted to entry these countries,” Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civil Party, said today at a press conference in Minsk.
The Draft Law on Mass Media was passed in the second reading on 24 June with 96 votes for and 2 against.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists received the text of the draft law only on the eve of the debate on it. The BAJ lawyers analyzed the text of the law and made a conclusion that in case the present wording of the law would be adopted, an irreparable blow would be made on independent mass media, which would put them on the verge of disappearance, and in fact would end in total destruction of independent media in the country.
The greatest concern is caused by the fact all online editions which are not registered in Belarus as mass media could be blocked by the regime.
Under the draft law on mass media, the list of violations for which an official warning could be made to the editorial office, is imprecise and not defined clearly, and it is possible to suspend issuing a mass media even after one warning. And not only the Information Ministry, but any judge, prosecutor of official of any district capital could issue warnings to mass media.
It should be reminded that in 2006 the EU and the United States banned entry their countries for ten high-ranking Belarusian officials for their participating in repressions, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka, KGB head Stsyapan Sukharenka, minister of internal affaires Uladzimir Navumau, secretary of the Security Council Viktar Sheiman, former minister of internal affairesYury Sivakou, special forces commander Dzmitry Paulichenka, head of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the State TV and Radio Company Alyaksandr Zimouski, deputy head of the Presidential Administration Natallay Pyatkevich and others. A number of other high-ranked officials, involved in repressions, were later enrolled on the list, too.