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30 July 2021, 12:27

Lukashenko: Freedom of speech in Belarus slides into extremism

MINSK, 30 July (BelTA) – Work to restore order in the information sector in the country has been almost complete, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with senior local government officials to discuss topical social and political issues on 30 July, BelTA has learned.

“Today, everyone must understand why they have created numerous partisan information sources: websites, Telegram-channels, video blogs, groups in social networks, and messengers. That network covered the entire Belarus,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The head of state pointed out that a chain of media outlets was formed to target specific localities and districts. Among the most targeted ones were Minsk, regional centers, and the Polesye region, where at least three major outlets were set up. This year alone, more than 100 internet resources have been put on the national list of extremist materials.

“The systematic work to straighten things up in the Belarusian media space is nearing the end. It is important to understand that we are not fighting against dissent or differing opinions. Never. The country will cease to exist if we get rid of differing points of view. It is just that freedom of speech, which we defend, has slided into extremist activity today. We will fight hard against it. We will not give up,” the president stressed.

He stressed: “Criticizing the authorities is one thing. We have always taken criticism with utmost attention. I cannot say that we liked it very much (Who does? I think, no one). Nevertheless, you need to take it adequately. Calls for riots and bloody reprisals against those who do not support revolutions is an absolutely different story. So are the attempts to build up an atmosphere of fear and mistrust through fabricated leaks, cyberattacks and providing access to personal data. This will not happen,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the attempts to undermine the situation from inside. “You know when and where this started. They stooped to the level of conspiracies, attempts of terrorist attacks, bomb threats. These are links in one chain. As the uncovered facts show, all these actions have no real social basis. The moderators are abroad. These are our self-exiled opposition leaders and their foreign handlers,” the head of state said.

The president stressed that they work for one purpose, which is to create an illusion of disunity in society, to keep tensions running high in the society, and to paint those who are opposing them in the fight for the Belarusian values and socially-oriented political course today as enemies.

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