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[liberationtech] Belarus to toughen control over Internet

Yosem Companys ycompanys at gmail.com
Mon Jan 4 10:49:15 PST 2010


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  *MSNBC.com*

Belarus to toughen control over Internet
Proposed bill would require registration of online publications, Web users
By Yuras Karmanau
The Associated Press
updated 11:35 a.m. PT, Wed., Dec . 30, 2009

MINSK, Belarus - Belarus' authoritarian leader is promising to toughen
regulation of the Internet and its users in an apparent effort to exert
control over the last fully free medium in the former Soviet state.

"We will identify any person who disseminates lies and dirt, and will make
them answer strictly to the law," President Alexander Lukashenko said
Wednesday.

He told journalists that a new Internet bill, proposed Tuesday, would
require the registration and identification of all online publications and
of each Web user, including visitors to Internet cafes. Web service
providers would have to report this information to police, courts and
special services.

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994, weeding out
opposition and dissidents. All television channels and most print media have
become state-controlled, and many of the independent newspapers ordered
closed have taken refuge in cyberspace.

Last June, Belarus adopted a media bill that allowed the government to close
Web sites without warning and imprison journalists for reproducing foreign
media reports.

Lukashenko won a third term in 2006 in an election that Western governments
deemed fraudulent.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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