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06 April 2018, 15:39
Andrei Naumovich

Amendments to the Mass Media Law will make it more balanced

Andrei Naumovich
Andrei Naumovich
Chairman of the permanent commission for human rights, national relations and mass media at the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus

The amendments to the Law on Mass Media will make it more balanced and will bring it closer to the needs of the Belarusian society, noted Andrei Naumovich, chairman of the standing commission on human rights, national relations and mass media of the House of Representatives.

“The amendments will make the law more balanced and progressive, and will adapt it to the needs of the society to a greater extent,” the MP said. Information security is what concerns people and himself, he stressed. “We definitely need to pay attention to what information is allowed to be reported and what is not,” Andrei Naumovich stressed.

BelTA reported earlier that the bill envisages several new important measures meant to protect people from the negative impact of the internet. For instance, the bill prohibits the distribution of information promoting suicide. Many of the new measures aim to protect children and tackle the illegal disclosure of their personal data.

The draft law also envisages the identification of internet users. This will help protect the owners of online media, who may be punished for the publication of defamatory material or other improper information on their website. The document also takes into account their requests to give those working in online media the status of traditional journalists.

The bill classifies the websites voluntarily registered by the Information Ministry as online media. It gives their owners the right to employ journalists who will have the same rights as traditional journalists. There will be no restrictions for those websites and portals that do not want to get registered. However, in this case they will not be granted an online media status, and their employers will not be considered journalists. The authors of the document had in mind the international trend: the information technologies are developing faster than the lawmakers can respond to this process. This is why online media sometimes are out of tune with the interest of the society. They publish the same information as the traditional newspapers, radio and TV. At the same time, unlike their colleagues from the internet, the “regular” mass media work within the clear legal framework which means not only the right to cover certain events but also some social responsibility for the reliability of this information. This is the imbalance that the authors want to fix.

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