SBIO at Community of Democracies 2013
Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbataar hosted the VII Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies on April 26-27, 2013. Bringing together policymakers and NGO representatives from all over the world, it aims to help promote democratic rules and strengthen democratic norms around the world.
Among the NGOs was Solidarity with Belarus Information Office, whose director, Yuliya Slutskaya, spoke in a panel session on Internet Freedom introduced by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt with other panelists from Iraq, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, and the Baltic states. Yuliya Slutskaya said that while the Internet is an essential tool within Belarus’s struggle for democracy, increased support for all media in Belarus is vital in order to support the process of democratic change.
She also noted that Belarus’ experience shows that the Internet is not in itself an engine for change, but a valuable tool for self-organization and for spreading independent information which is most effective during times of political and economic crises, as evidenced by the ‘silent protests’ in summer 2011.