The Belarusian Presidential Office for Amending the Law on Mass Demonstrations said, according to Belta, “It is prohibited to report in real time on mass events that violate the established rules, with the aim of their circulation or promotion.”
The published statement also stipulates that accreditation of journalists may be withdrawn if it violates accreditation rules or if the information it publishes “does not conform to the facts or harms the reputation of the organization that granted accreditation to journalists.”
The newly amended Media Law bans the publication of the results of public opinion polls related to the social and political sphere, as well as Internet links to news and information containing information, and prohibits their publication.
Changes to both laws take effect within a month. However, journalists who write about the protests are already being punished in Belarus. In February, a Belarusian court sent two Pilsat TV editors to prison for two years, while they were broadcasting live protest over the killing of demonstrator Raman Bandarinka.
In the wake of the presidential elections in August, which the opposition considers rigged and which is not recognized by the European Union, for example, the Belarusian authorities have intensified the silencing of critics of the Alexander Lukashenko regime and are cracking down on independent media. Opposition journalist Raman Bratasevic was arrested Sunday after an emergency landing on a commercial flight in Minsk.
Last week, Belarusian authorities blocked the nation’s largest independent news portal, Tut.by, and detained several members of the editorial office.