On Russia’s model: Belarus regime to consider Belsat, Radio Free Europe ‘foreign agents’?

Would-be amendments to the law on mass media was the main topic of the recent episode of the program Editors’ Club on the state-run channel Belarus-1.

Information Minister Alyaksandr Karlyukevich compared the anonymous web commentators to informers and whistleblowers.

“This is reminiscent of what was in 1937 [in the USSR], when [some people] solved their problems by sending anonymous denunciations,” the top official stressed.

In February, the minister announced key amendments to law. In accordance with a draft bill, compulsory identification of Internet users, including commentators on forums, may be introduced in Belarus. The lack of moderation may result in blocking a website as well as a number of social networks.

According to him, it is the situation with the Internet and social networks that is craving for considerable attention.

“Of course, this is control, but we will control the information that is contrary to outr legislation and on the whole, to normal communication in society. But this is not a violation of freedom of speech,” Karlyukevich said.

In the course of the discussion, Henadz Davydzka, a former head of the Belteleradiocompany and the incumbent leader of the public organisation Belaya Rus, mentioned Belsat TV (watch from 18:25):

Apparently, Davydzka was referring to the Russian law on foreign agents in mass media. According to this law, a note being a foreign agent must be added to all publications by such a media outlet; the founder must submit a quarterly report to the Ministry of Justice about their activities.