Jordi Sole, MEP (Catalonia) issued the question to the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.
MEP reminded in his request about the blockage of Charter 97 website and amendments to the media law and asked Commissioner Hahn to list specific actions which the Commission was going to undertake to lift the blockage of Charter 97 and to defend freedom of expression in Belarus.
We provide the full text of the document below:
- On January 24th, without any preliminary warning, the Ministry of Information of Belarus ordered the blockage of popular independent Belarusian website Charter97.org on the territory of Belarus (1).
It is yet another heavy blow against freedom of speech and the right of people to access information in Belarus. The country is the number 155 in the ranking of the 2018 World Press Freedom Index (2).
International calls to end the blocking of the charter97.org website have been ignored by the Belarusian authorities while the amendments to the Law on Media currently before the Parliament aim to further control access to sources of information, particularly online, including via social networks (3).
However, authorities continue to pressure human rights defenders, independent journalists and opposition activists, using the court system to harass them, impose preventive or administrative detention and levy severe fines (3).
In view of the trip of Commissioner Hahn in Belarus on June 21st - 22nd:
- Did the Commissioner take the opportunity to exchange views about the blockage of Charter97.org in the Partnership Dialogue he participated in and provide feedback?
- Did the Commissioner also take the opportunity to share the actions that the EC would pursue to prevent further deterioration of human rights in Belarus, mainly freedom of expression?