Belarusian journalists concerned about bill that would allow KGB establish punishment for extremist materials

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has appealed to the House of Representatives to reject an amendment to the Administrative Offenses Code that would establish punishment for the distribution of extremist materials, news agecy BelaPAN reports.

The legislation would allow "law-enforcement agencies, above all the State Security Committee (KGB), to arbitrarily declare an unlimited number of materials extremist," the Association said in a statement that it adopted at its seventh convention held in Minsk. The BAJ expressed concern that the bill contains a "very ambiguous and vague definition" of the word "extremism." The production and distribution of extremist materials is currently punished only under criminal laws.

The BAJ criticized the country's extremism prevention law, saying that it restricted the freedom of expression, running counter to Belarus' international commitments. However, it warned, the new legislation could make the situation even worse.

The Association called on the lower parliamentary house to reject the bill and introduce instead an amendment to the extremism prevention law that would define clearly extremist activities as recommended by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, BelaPAN says.



Partners: Social Network