Week 31, July 19-25

July 25th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

Minsk City Court dismisses appeals from two ex-presidential candidates. (more…)

“We all know that an increasing number of governments are seeking to control the net and limit the freedom on the net” said Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Brussels on May 23, 2011.

It is vital to safeguard freedom of the net acknowledging that internet is and should be a key instrument for reaching long term economic and social goals, said Carl Bildt with the latest developments in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa in mind. (more…)

Week 30, July 12-18

July 18th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, condemns the brutal handling of peaceful protesters. (more…)

“Promotion of pluralism in New Media” was discussed at a meeting early July 2011 arranged in Vienna by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). A brand new report was presented – Freedom of Expression on the Internet. In the report it is stated that more and more countries block material on the web if you cannot access the source by other means – for example, because the origin is not in their own country. A recurring question during the meeting in Vienna was the lack of legal means to protect access to the Internet. Many felt that this lack creates a vacuum and a risk that various forms of censorship may be imposed. (more…)

The street protests at the Tahir square in the Egyptian capital that started on January 25 and culminated with the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak less than one month later profoundly changed the political landscape. The importance of social medias during the protests has been heavily discussed during the latest year, and far from everybody feels comfortable with the description of a “Twitter-revolution,” while the future seems more and more uncertain. (more…)

Week 29, July 5-11

July 11th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

New silent protests and harsh detentions by KGB and Police. (more…)

Report by Frank Priess for the Kondrad Adenauer Stiftung, July 7 2011

The 6th Party Congress of the Cuban Communist Party had Raúl Castro’s signature all over it. Debates on the economy were the order of the day, which is hardly surprising, given the Caribbean island’s disastrous supply situation. Raúl’s brother Fidel, who will be 85 in August, has handed his last official state position over to his 79-year-old younger brother. The old guard still dominates the leadership structure. The release of political prisoners and the beginnings of dialogue with the church are signs of a change in policies, but the question is how far these changes can and should go. However, once again there is no talk of political reform or more civil liberties. (more…)

The Belarusian internet revolution started in June 2011 from the simple idea of trying to identify the people who are ready to protest off line. The group created in the Belarusian segment of the Russian replica of Facebook – VKontakte, known as “The Revolution through Social Networks”, called for the public to gather on the main squares of Belarusian cities at 19:00 each Wednesday. In order not to provoke the regime`s security forces it was decided not to perform any activities, but rather to have a “silent” protest.

Read the report

Andrej Pachobut, a well-known journalist of Poland’s largest newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and democratic activist in Belarus, has been passed a three year suspended sentence after being found guilty of defamation of President Lukashenka by the Court in Hrodna.

The state prosecutor asked the court to sentence Andrej Pachobut to three years in prison. Her was charged in accordance with two articles of the Criminal Code of the Belarusian Law: Article 368, part 1, “insulting of president”, and Article 367, part 1 “libel against president”, and faces two to four years in prison. He has been in custody for more than two months prior to the trial.