by Katherine Thompson
President Aliaksandr Lukashenka has passed a new media law, despite accusations that it is restrictive. The new legislation means that the Council of Ministers in Belarus now control online media.
The Belarusian parliament pushed the bill through in three consecutive readings and passed it to the Constitutional Court for review. According to the local press, the court rubber stamped the bill in July and it became law on Monday, report the Committee to Protect Journalists.
News website Telegraf, report that presidential administration representative Nataliia Petkevich said, "only Internet analogues of printed media will be regulated by the new law."
Apart from the controlling online media, the law requires "Belarusian and international journalists to seek individual accreditation from multiple state agencies.... It also obliges Belarusian media to seek re-registration from state authorities," says CPJ.The Minister of Information also has full rights to suspend media outlets, the ministry and state prosecutors are allowed to shut down outlets permanently if they find their content inaccurate, defamatory, "not corresponding to reality," or "threatening the interests of the state or the public."