MINSK, 21 April (BelTA) - Members of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus approved the bill to amend the laws on mass media at a meeting of the fifth session on 21 April, BelTA has learned.
The bill is aimed at ensuring the constitutional right of citizens to receive complete and reliable information, the protection of state and public interests in the field of mass information, and national security in the information sphere.
“The practice of applying the legislation on the mass media has shown that we have certain gaps, which, unfortunately, have been exploited by our unprincipled colleagues. The amendments that were adopted today by the members of the Council of the Republic are aimed at eliminating these gaps or bottlenecks in the legislation,” Information Minister Vladimir Pertsov said.
According to him, the draft law aims to combat the spread of fake news and the introduction of the journalist's responsibility for such actions.
The draft law also proposes to give the Information Ministry the right to make a decision to stop the production of mass media (alongside with the court, if the Interdepartmental Commission for Security in the Information Sphere under the Security Council of Belarus makes the relevant decision).
“In an era when the picture of the day is shaped in hours, it affects public opinion and motivates our citizens to action. We cannot afford to wait for a court decision. After all, proceedings may take more than one or two months. Besides, it cannot be groundless, it always has a certain ground, a relevant application of the competent authorities,” the minister said.