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Full text of Internet censorship regulation released in Belarus

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Full text of Internet censorship regulation released in Belarus

The full force of Internet censorship will be applied from September 1, closer to the presidential elections.

The website of the so called Operative and Analytical Center at Lukashenka’s Administration published the text of the joint regulation of the Center and the Ministry of Communication “On Approval of the Regulation on Restriction of Access to Information Banned for Distribution under Legislative Acts for Internet Services Users”. Internet service providers are given a sort delay. The restrictions are to take full force from September 1, 2010, not July 1, as it was expected earlier, Electroname.com writes.

The process of access restrictions looks like that:

1. The Belarusian State Telecommunication Inspection makes a list of forbidden websites on the ground of proposals of appropriate governmental bodies. Legal persons, individual entrepreneurs and “concerned citizens” have the right to help the governmental bodies to prepare the lists. An IP address, domain name, or an URL may serve as an identifier of a banned Internet resource. The regulation no longer contains an item on content filtering. If a Belarusian site (one on the national segment of the Internet) is included in the black list, the owner will receive a notice about putting the website on the blocklist.

2. The list will be published on the website of the Telecommunication Inspection, but will be closed for public. Only the list of banned websites located on the national Internet segment will be on open access. Internet service providers may extend blocklists on their desire.

3. An ISP can restrict access for a client only on the latter’s request. The exception is governmental agencies and organizations as well as education and culture organizations. For them, access to interesting websites will be restricted on a compulsory basis.

4. Websites can also be removed from the blacklist. A decision on removal of the Internet resource identifiers from the restriction list must be taken by the governmental body that earlier put the website on the list.

The information aimed at “extremist activity, illicit circulation of weapons, ammunition, detonators, explosives, radioactive, contaminating, aggressive, poisonous, and toxic substances, drugs, psychotropic substances, and their precursors; assisting illegal migration and human trafficking; spreading pornography; promulgating violence, brutality, and other acts prohibited by law” is banned for spreading.

The scandalous Decree on National Segment of the Internet signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka is to come into effect on July 1. The content of the decree brought on criticism by the Belarusian media community and international human rights organizations, including OSCE. Independent experts have no doubts that Lukashenka’s decree is aimed at blocking oppositional Internet resources ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.