10 Most Censored Countries - Belarus
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||2 May 2012|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, 10 Most Censored Countries - Belarus, 2 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/502cb01a18.html [accessed 12 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Leadership: President Aleksandr Lukashenko, in office since 1994
How Censorship Works: Lukashenko's wide-ranging anti-press tactics have included politicized prosecution of journalists; imprisonments; travel bans against critical reporters; debilitating raids on independent newsrooms; wholesale confiscation of newspapers and seizure of reporting equipment; and failure to investigate the murders of at least three journalists in the past 10 years. After the rigged election of 2010, he cracked down on what was left of the independent media, sending it underground. Working as a journalist without government-issued accreditation is prohibited; television is state-owned or state-controlled. In 2010, Lukashenko signed a law to censor the Internet, created an agency to implement the law, and placed his own son to head it. Shortly after it was created, the agency blacklisted independent and opposition websites. Public access to the Internet requires a government-issued ID, which allows the KGB to monitor users. At least one opposition website has been the target of hacking attacks, including one in which a password obtained via malware was used to insert a false news story about an opposition politician.
Lowlight: Following the December 2010 presidential vote, Lukashenko imprisoned prominent independent journalists Irina Khalip and Natalya Radina on fabricated charges in retaliation for reporting on post-election protests. Khalip was later released from prison under heavy restrictions, while Radina was forced to flee Belarus to avoid a repeated incarceration.