NTW forwards a call for international support from Belarus NGOs published in December:
The Belarusian powers started to "turn off" all known independent Internet mass-media in the country. The official reason is "to prevent the panic, related to the default of Belarus ruble". In 4 days all well-known and popular sites, including BelaPAN news agency and web-portal onliner.by, providing information about internet-shopping in Belarus were blocked and its domains in zone by were paralyzed. Never before the Belarusian authorities have done anything like that. Such measures are possible in the case of the introduction of martial law in our country. However, martial law is not entered.
BelaPAN’s statement on blockage of its websites
Minsk, 21 December.
The IP addresses of BelaPAN’s websites belapan.by, belapan.com and naviny.by were blocked on December 20th.
It is still unknown who did that and for what reason. However, it is clear that the decision to block the ID addresses could only be made by authorities as in Belarus the government has monopoly on providing IP addresses. BelaPAN had not received any official warning or notification about the coming blockage. The new amendments to the Media Law, which allow the blockage of websites, will come into force only on January 1st 2015.
In this regard we view the blockage of the IP addresses of BelaPAN as a gross infringement of freedom of expression and media freedom in Belarus. We are taking all possible measures to obtain exhaustive information from government agencies as to who made the decision to block our websites and on what grounds.