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European Union condemns decree on Internet censorship in Belarus

European Union condemns decree on Internet censorship in Belarus

The European Union thinks the decree puts more restrictions on freedom of speech in Belarus.

Lutz Guellner, a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, commented on the decree regulating activity of websites in Belarus, Radio Svaboda reports.

This new presidential decree is going to further restrict freedom of speech and freedom of media in Belarus after it takes forces, Guellner says. The EU regards this issue as an important step in a wrong direction and hopes the Belarusian authorities will review it. The Union expresses its concern over new restrictions of freedom, including freedom of speech, especially at the moment when the European Union is seeking cooperation with Belarus.

To a question whether EU officials responsible for foreign policy know that the Belarusian opposition regards this decree as an attempt to censor opposition electronic media ahead of the presidential elections in 2011, Guellner answered he this opinion from some media outlets. However, he noted it was too early to comment on those remarks.

Lutz Guellner said he could just suppose what the decree offers before its entry into force in July 2010. He only noted the direction was wrong.

We remind that the scandalous decree on national segment of the Internet has been signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The decree is to come into effect on July 1.The text of the draft decree appeared on the Internet in last December. It brought on criticism by the Belarusian media community and international human rights organizations, including OSCE. The draft decree met unambiguous estimation – the document is prepared to block pro-opposition Internet resources ahead of the presidential elections.

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