WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th September, 2020) The New York City-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged the Belarusian authorities to stop censoring the internet, in particular the tut.by website.
Last week, the editorial office of tut.by reported that the authorities had issued it the third warning since August, and the Information Ministry had the right to consider restricting access to the site. The company received the previous warning last Monday, and another one on August 7.
The Belarusian Information Ministry told Sputnik that there were no talks about restricting access to one of the largest information portals in Belarus, tut.by, there was no decision to block it and there was no need to hold a meeting on the issue.
"Authorities in Belarus must stop censoring the internet, and allow Tut.by and others to continue reporting on the protests without restriction. An uncensored internet is crucial during this time of upheaval in Belarus, and this new wave of censorship just demonstrates the government's fear of the free flow in news and information," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said said in New York.
On August 9, incumbent leader Alexander Lukashenko won the presidential elections in Belarus for the sixth time - according to the country's Central Election Commission, he gained 80.1 percent of the vote. The opposition claims that ex-Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, not Lukashenko, won the election.
Mass opposition protests began across Belarus after the presidential elections. In the first days, the rallies were crushed by law enforcement officers: tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and rubber bullets were used against the protesters who did not agree with the election results.
Then the law enforcement agencies stopped dispersing the rallies and using force. In line with official data, over 6,700 people were detained in the first days. According to the Interior Ministry, hundreds of people were injured during the riots, including more than 130 law enforcement officers. Three protesters have died.