25 March 2019, Monday, 3:23
A Challenge for Everyone

Jauhen Afnahel: Many Media Introduced Self-Censorship

Jauhen Afnahel

Independent journalists are afraid to write about the rally on March 25.

Jauhen Afnahel, coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign, one of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress, told Radio Racyja about perils of the blocking of the website "Charter'97".

- "Charter ' 97" has always written about street protests, asked hard-hitting questions, covered problems, which, unfortunately, sometimes were silenced by the media with editorial offices on the territory of Belarus. In fact, the Ministry of Information also recognized it. One of the claims to the site is that it published articles with the date and place of rallies. Therefore, the blocking of Charter'97 is a clear signal to all media: do not write about protests, about opposition, do not criticize the regime. And we see that many editions have already introduced self-censorship and try not to remind of preparation, for example, for Freedom Day on March 25.

- But today it is possible to bypass any blocking if necessary... - Is it a great problem for a person seeking unbiased information?

- Yes, it's easy to do. There are Opera, Tor and other corresponding tools for other browsers, there are anonymizers and social networks. I think once again the authorities will face the boomerang effect. The blocking of Charter'97 has badly hurt already bad image of the regime and triggered off the Solidarity Campaign both with the site and, in general, with the Belarusian independent journalists in Belarus and abroad. Every day words of solidarity with "Charter'97" are heard, new leaflets and graffiti appear, people resent on social networks, they tell how to bypass the blocking and disseminate information of the site. The sooner the authorities revoke their decision, the less this mistake costs them, Jauhen Afnagel summed up.