Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
Management of the major Belarusian portal TUT.BY introduced new regulations for Internet forums on June 21, 2005. According to management statements the censorship was introduced in order Intrenet forums could meet "modern requirements". At present the number of registered participants of TUT.BY forums totals some 26.000.
According to new regulations it is forbidden to call to violations of legislation currently in force, to stur up national hatred, to make racist statements and defamatory comments, to insult others or to use coarse words. An unauthorized advertising at forums is forbidden as well.
TUT.BY management informed users that according to the State Law on Militia Investigation Acrtions , Belarusian law enforcement bodies are entitled to apply to TUT.BY for information and TUT.BY manage, met is obliged to provide any information required.
The new rules are strongly criticized by users and by public at large. The rules are complicated, redundant, too detailed and introduce numerous bureaucratic procedures for control. Thus, the rules give detailed description of the moderators' editing regulations and users protestation procedures which are almost more complicated than offline applications to government. In many cases new rules entitle moderators to act as judges, having the right to decide whether this or that post violates the law.
But the most violent criticism was caused by the demand to use only Cyrillic letters and make postings only in Russian or in Belarusian languages. Linguistics and literary critic topics make exceptions. In case there is a citation in foreign language in a posting, it should be translated.
This is even more surprised if to remember that at present more than 3 mln Belarusians live abroad.
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