Information Ministry starts blocking websites for criticism of authorities
The Information Ministry has restricted access to a popular youth Internet website www.kyky.org, saying that the publications on this website could harm Belarus’ national interests. Recently, the Information Ministry has blocked access to 18 websites for information about where to buy and how to use narcotics and for promotion of child pornography and tabooed vocabulary. In addition, four web-sites had been officially warned by the Ministry, including radio "Racyja”, public association "Svobodny Region», Tuzin.fm and the site of the United Civil Party. So far, the authorities have not yet blocked access to the leading opposition websites, however unofficially restricted access to them during the most critical times thus boosting self-censorship at independent online media.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.