The Belarusian media law has been tightened even more.
Today, the Belarusian "deputies" have adopted the first reading of the amendments to the Law on Mass Media, according to which Internet forum commentators are to be identified, and employees of Internet publications that have not been registered lose their journalist status.
The new Minister of Information, Aliaksandr Karliukevich, presented the changes to the Law on Mass Media, which tighten the requirements for Internet publications.
We remind that the amendments to the Law on Mass Media suggest the registration of Internet resources as media (they will be called "online publications"). Employees of unregistered Internet resources will not be classified as journalists, and state bodies will be entitled to deny them accreditation. Also, the compulsory identification of those who post materials on Internet resources (not only on online publications), including commentators on forums, come into use, there is a possibility of blocking social networks.
The law will also ban the distribution of foreign media products in Belarus without a permit, and the editorial offices of the TV channels will have to ensure at least 30 percent of Belarusian (national) television programs in the weekly volume of broadcasting.
According to Aliaksandr Karliukevich, the need for changes to the Law on Mass Media is connected, among other things, with the "harmonization" of the Belarusian legislation with the Russian legislation.
Experts call these amendments "a crack-down on independent journalism" and "a new turn of the screw." Aside from this, after the independent Internet resources are destroyed, Belarus will finally fall under the informational influence of Russia.
We remind that on January 24, the largest independent news site, Charter-97, was blocked in Belarus.