Belarus named as new ‘Enemy of the Internet’

Mar 21, 2012
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Following a year of increasing Internet repression in Belarus, Reporters without Borders has added the country to its 2012 “Enemies of the Internet” list.

The report cited numerous instances where the Belarusian government has been less than open when it comes to its citizens’ freedom of movement online. For example, a new law formalizing previous restrictions requires Internet service providers to track users’ online activities and provide 24-7 access to them for security services.  The law also  requires Internet cafes to register users. The report cited the growing number of websites that have been blacklisted in the country, including the  news website Charter97.org.

The group  “Revolution through Social Networks”  on the popular Russian social networking site VKontakte.ru was forced to shut down on the eve of a planned protest in July. Authorities in Belarus also blocked access to the entire site  a week later.

The report on Belarus concluded by saying, “The regime cannot resolve the country’s problems by sinking into a repressive hysteria that would only exacerbate tensions. It is urgent for it to hear the international community’s appeals to reason and put an end to its aimless repression and war on information.”

Belarus joins 11 other countries on the list, including Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.


About the Author

Joshua Boissevain

Joshua Boissevain is a research associate and editorial assistant at Transitions Online. He's also a freelance journalist and photographer based in Prague. Find him on twitter at @joshboissevain.
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