Belarussian journalists and bloggers issued an online protest last Wednesday by not posting anything for an hour or using a black banner, lashing out against the "On Mass Media" law that the government adopted "without public hearings and international expert examinations", Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) reported.
As the last few years have shown, independent Belarussian newspapers have the tendency of being shut down by the state. Instead, many media outlets have found solace in cyberspace, according to the Boston Globe.
However, last Tuesday the House of Representatives of the Belarus National Assembly approved the law after its second reading, Jurist reported. The BAJ said that the law violates the freedoms outlined in articles 33 and 34 of the constitution.
Belarus media outlets are now banned from getting foreign financial backing and are required to register with the government. Reporters Without Borders termed the law as "repressive" and predict that censorship will increase, the Globe reported.
The government is trying to save Belarussians "from foreign propaganda" by attempting to control the cyberspace, according to the Globe.
Earlier this year, Belarussian journalists were imprisoned or beaten up during a protest against Alexander Lukashenko, the current president. A week later, a number of journalists' home were raided as the Belarussian KGB tried to look for libel documents regarding Lukashenko, Jurist reported.
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