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17 Jun, 2008 12:50

Belarus eyes total media control

Belarus eyes total media control

Belarus’ lower house has passed a bill which journalists fear will lead to the destruction of independent media in the country. The Journalists Association was quick to criticise the bill, which aims to centralise media power.

The Belarus Journalists’ Association lawyer, Yuri Toparashev, has said that if adopted the law will ‘significantly harden independent media work, and they’ll be put on the verge of extinction’.

Two points of the draft law are seen the most controversial. First, it obliges all Internet media to register. Meantime, it says, the media partly controlled or funded by non citizens or by some foreign companies will be denied registration. Besides, Internet media will be regarded MSM.

Second, the law gives minor administrators and attorneys the right to trigger persecution of any media, and ultimately force it to close.

Besides, the law offers a list of information banned for circulation. It mainly considers propaganda of drugs and violence.

If the bill is adopted, all mass media in Belarus will have to get re-registered within a year.