MINSK, 20 October (BelTA) – The court of Minsk's Tsentralny District recognized the Telegram channel NEXTA Live (t.me/nexta_live) and the logo (digital watermark) NEXTA as extremist materials on 20 October, the press service of the Supreme Court of Belarus told BelTA.
The court ruling was made because attributes of extremist activities had been found in the content of the channel's information products (videos, appeals, and publications on behalf of the channel's authors and on behalf of the channel's subscribers) such as the organization and public appeals to stage mass riots.
The Information Ministry has been advised to add the channel NEXTA Live (t.me/nexta_live) and the NEXTA logo to the national list of extremist materials, take measures to restrict access to the information resources that contain corresponding names and restrict their distribution in the Belarusian segment of the Internet.
The court's ruling is subject to immediate execution.
The civil case was heard upon the petition filed by the Central Office for Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry to recognize these information products as extremist materials.
It was established during the court session that the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry is taking measures against individuals that posted information in the Telegram channel NEXTA Live on 9-11 August 2020. According to the national expert commission in charge of evaluating information products in order to decide whether they have attributes of extremist activities or not, the information posted in the Telegram channel NEXTA Live on 9-11 August 2020 does have such attributes. The complainant asked the court to recognize the Telegram channel and the logo as extremist materials and instruct the Information Ministry to add them to the national list of extremist materials.
The court established that information products (videos) posted in the Telegram channel NEXTA Live on 9-11 August 2020 have attributes of extremist activities in line with article 1 of the law of the Republic of Belarus on counteracting extremism, namely the organization and public appeals to stage mass riots.
The press service of the Supreme Court noted that these circumstances are confirmed by an expert conclusion of the national expert commission in charge of evaluating information products in order to decide whether they have attributes of extremist activities or not. The conclusion was compiled by an authorized body, this is why the conclusion was deemed an authentic and sufficient proof as part of the court case.
According to Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry Press Secretary Olga Chemodanova's Telegram channel, from now on the publication or placement, including reposting, of information bearing the NEXTA logo or from NEXTA Live will entail administrative sanctions for distributing, manufacturing, storing, transporting information products that contain appeals for extremist activities or information products that promote such activities (part 2, article 17.11 of the Administrative Offences Code).
The Central Office for Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry noted that the rebranding of the Telegram channel and changes of its logo will not prompt the channel's exclusion from the list of extremist materials. Police is now intent on finding those, who distribute the forbidden information. Police has the means and resources to do it, the source assured.
Police also continues collecting data, recording facts of extremism on other websites and in other Telegram channels in order to add them to the forbidden list.