The Media and Entertainment Law Review: Belarus

Overview

The dynamic evolution of the media and entertainment industry, and the development of new instruments and technologies, has resulted in legislative activity aimed at navigating the fast-changing landscape in this sector.

Recent trends include continued improvement of the applicable legislation. In this chapter, special attention is devoted to the introduction of new regulations in the intellectual property sphere and to legislative developments focusing on issues of personal data protection.

The draft Strategy in the Sphere of Intellectual Property for 2021–20302 is currently under development. This document will address, inter alia, combating counterfeit goods in the digital sphere, product protection in the era of globalisation and the protection of intellectual property assets in situations requiring a prompt response.

The Information Security Concept 2019 (the Concept)3 addresses the issue of harmful content dissemination in the informational sphere. The Concept is a system of official views on the nature of, and content relating to, ensuring national security in the informational sphere. It also defines strategic tasks and priorities in the field of information security. In particular, the Concept establishes that relations in the field of mass media are based on the principles of legality, reliability, respect for human rights and freedoms, diversity of opinions and protection of morality, among other things. Along with the constitutional provision of freedom of speech in Belarus, to comply with these principles, legislative requirements are established for the dissemination of mass media products that are consistent with international practice and generally accepted social standards. There is public control over the dissemination of illegal and inaccurate information in the information space. At the state level, measures are being taken to prevent the dissemination of both information that could harm national interests and inaccurate information, as well as seeking to reduce anonymity in the information space. When broadcasting content, it is not permitted to use hidden technological methods that affect people's subconscious or have a harmful effect on their health. State bodies and other organisations must follow the Concept in their practices.

Current legislation provides for the additional authorisation needed to carry out activities in the media sector. According to the Mass Media Law,4 mass media entities are subject to a state registration procedure. TV and radio broadcasting are additionally subject to obtaining a licence, which may be obtained by a mass media editor or by a foreign organisation. However, a licence is not needed in the following cases if the broadcasting is carried out by a telecommunications operator without changing the form or content of the broadcast product:

  1. under a permit to distribute the products of a foreign mass media;
  2. under a contract with a legal entity entrusted with the editorial functions of a mass media entity; or
  3. if the foreign organisation has a licence in the field of broadcasting.

The Mass Media Law defines an internet resource as a website, web page, forum, blog, application for a mobile device, or other information resource (or its component), located on the internet and used for mass media distribution. As a general rule, the Mass Media Law applies to internet resources. An internet resource may voluntarily register as an online edition and, consequently, be treated as a mass media entity under the Mass Media Law and its employees treated as journalists.

Certain regulations apply specifically to internet resources. The Mass Media Law provides for a number of duties for internet resource owners, including social network owners, and these involve the introduction of additional measures for analysing and monitoring information on the internet resources. In particular, further to the Mass Media Law requirement, the Regulation on the Procedure for Preliminary Identification of an Internet Resource or Online Edition Users5 elaborates the user identification requirements. The owner of an internet resource or online edition must identify users that leave a message in a comments section or forum, in particular, via the short message service verification mechanism.

Legal and regulatory framework

The main legislative acts regulating the media and entertainment sector in Belarus are:

  1. the Civil Code;6
  2. the Mass Media Law;
  3. the Law on Information, Informatisation and Information (Data) Protection;7
  4. the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (the Copyright Law);8
  5. the Law on Trademarks and Service Marks;9
  6. the Law on Publishing;10
  7. the Law on Advertising;11
  8. the Law on the Counteraction of Monopolistic Activity And Development of Competition (the Anti-monopoly Law);12
  9. the Law on Personal Data Protection;13 and
  10. the Law on Mass Events.14

The President of Belarus has also issued a number of edicts regulating the media and entertainment sector. In practice, pursuant to the Law on Normative Legal Acts,15 they have greater legal force than laws because in the event of divergence between a presidential edict or decree and the law, the law has primacy only when the authority to issue the edict or decree has been granted by law.

The following are the main regulatory presidential edicts in the media and entertainment sector:

  1. Edict on Licensing of Certain Types of Activities;16
  2. Edict on Measures to Improve the Use of the National Segment of the Internet;17 and
  3. Edict on the Improvement of the Work of Public Authorities and Other State Organisations with the Mass Media.18

The Council of Ministers has formed the legal framework for:

  1. the opening of correspondent offices (of both the national and the foreign mass media);
  2. accreditation procedures for foreign mass media journalists; and
  3. authorisation for distribution of foreign media products.

On 21 August 2014, Resolution No. 810 was adopted, which established an expert committee for the evaluation of information products for signs of extremism.

The central management body responsible for state regulation, coordination of work and development of the mass media sector is the Ministry of Information (MinInform). MinInform has certain subordinate organisations, including two TV channels and an internet service provider (ISP).

MinInform, inter alia, carries out:

  1. state registration of mass media entities and print media publishers, manufacturers and distributors;
  2. the licensing of printing, and print-related and broadcasting activities;
  3. maintenance of state registers of:
    • mass media entities;
    • print media product distributors;
    • distributors of TV and radio broadcasting media products; and
    • print media publishers, manufacturers and distributors in Belarus;
  4. media monitoring;
  5. oversight of foreign mass media products to ensure compliance with Belarus legislation;
  6. the issuance of permits for purchases of printing equipment;
  7. the distribution of foreign mass media products in Belarus without changing its form or content;
  8. the issuance of measures for the prevention of unlawful restrictions on media freedom, censorship and distribution of information prohibited for distribution;
  9. events for the development of mass media organisations and individual entrepreneurs carrying out publishing, printing and distribution of printed media and media products;
  10. the development and adoption of regulatory legal acts and technical regulatory legal acts;
  11. the development of state programmes;
  12. international cooperation in the field of media, including interactions with international organisations and corresponding bodies of other states, ensuring the fulfilment of obligations under international treaties with Belarus;
  13. assistance in the organisation of correspondent offices, bureaus and other offices of state mass media organisations outside the country;
  14. accreditation of journalists; and
  15. monitoring compliance with publishing and mass media legislation and licensing requirements in the sphere of publishing and broadcasting.

The National Centre of Intellectual Property is a state organisation ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights and exercising the functions of the patent body of Belarus.

Free speech and media freedom

i Protected forms of expression

Although the Mass Media Law guarantees the freedom of opinion, belief and expression to everyone in Belarus, it establishes certain restrictions on information that may be disseminated through the mass media.

In accordance with the provisions of the recently updated Code of Administrative Offences, the Criminal Code19 and other legislation, the following information, inter alia, is subject to a special protection regime:

  1. state secrets;
  2. official secrets;
  3. secret of adoption;
  4. medical secrets;
  5. personal data;
  6. trade secrets;
  7. attorney–client privilege; and
  8. banking and tax secrets.

Among other things, the Mass Media Law also limits the dissemination of information concerning investigative activities and materials of inquiry, preliminary investigation and court proceedings until the end of related criminal proceedings.

ii Newsgathering

Under the Mass Media Law, journalists have certain rights, privileges and duties regarding newsgathering. Thus, they are entitled to gather, request and receive information from public authorities, political parties, other public associations and legal entities (in accordance with certain specific rules established by these organisations).

Information and materials gathered by audio and video recording, filming and photography of a person without his or her consent cannot be disseminated until the application of measures against the possible identification of that person. This dissemination is possible provided that it does not violate personal rights and freedoms and is needed for protection of the public interest or in cases of dissemination upon request of the criminal prosecution body or the court for a preliminary investigation or trial.

Under the amendments to the Law on Mass Events that entered into force in June 2021, if mass events are held in violation of the procedure established by law it is prohibited to report on them to popularise or promote them in real time. According to the recent amendments to the Law on Combating Extremism,20, within five years of the date of entry into force of a court decision on the liquidation of an organisation recognised as extremist, shareholders (or owners of property) in that organisation have no right to act as a founder (shareholder or owner of property) of other organisations, including mass media entities.

The Draft Law on Personal Data Protection specifies cases that do not require the consent of the data subject. In particular, the collecting, processing, dissemination or sharing of personal data for the purpose of a journalist's professional activities or mass media activities, provided they are aimed at the protection of the public interest, do not require the consent of the data subject. The public interest comprises society's need for the detection and disclosure of information about threats to national security, public order, public health and the environment, or affecting the performance of public officials or public figures.

The Code of Administrative Offences states that unauthorised access to computer information and violations of the mass media legislation are punishable.

The Criminal Code outlaws the following methods of gathering information:

  1. intentional illegal collection or provision of information about the private life or personal data of another person without his or her consent, resulting in significant harm to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of a citizen;
  2. an invasion of privacy and other legal possessions of citizens;
  3. a violation of confidentiality correspondence, telephone conversations, telegraphic or other communications;
  4. the misappropriation of computer information; and
  5. the illegal production, acquisition or sale of means of covertly obtaining information.

iii Freedom of access to government information

Access to government information may be limited at the government's discretion via the use of the accreditation mechanism. The Mass Media Law defines accreditation as a confirmation of mass media journalists' right to cover events organised by state bodies, political parties, other public associations or legal entities, as well as other events within and outside the country's boundaries.

Belarus journalists obtain accreditation for specific events. To pursue their professional activities, foreign journalists are subject to mandatory accreditation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the procedure established by the Regulation on the Procedure of Accreditation of Journalists of the Foreign Mass Media.21 Depending on his or her functions, a foreign journalist can achieve permanent accreditation (for a period of up to one year with a possible extension of up to three years) or temporary accreditation (for the period of performance of the professional duties on Belarus territory, but not for more than 14 days).

The Mass Media Law does not allow unjustified refusal of accreditation. However, since there are no unified criteria in the legislation, government agencies can make their own decisions in the absence of specific procedures for the appeal of refusals.

A journalist operating without accreditation may face a fine for illegally producing media content.

The general right and procedure for obtaining information or clarifications is established by the Law on Applications from Citizens and Legal Entities.22 Therefore, journalists and the mass media may also use this general procedure for access to government information.

iv Protection of sources

Provisions of the Mass Media Law imply the rights to retain and disseminate information needed for professional activities. The dissemination may be carried out under a journalist's signature, under a pseudonym or without a signature. Journalists may specifically indicate the confidentiality of authorship.

The Mass Media Law establishes the following obligations for journalists:

  1. respect for the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others;
  2. to check the accuracy of information obtained and provide reliable information for dissemination;
  3. to indicate authorship according to the will of the persons providing information;
  4. to maintain confidentiality of the information and its sources (with exceptions);
  5. to obtain consent from persons for the dissemination of information about their private life;
  6. to obtain consent from persons for audio and video recording, filming and photography, except in public places and during events and in cases when measures are taken to prevent possible identification of the person;
  7. to refuse tasks set by the founder or (chief) editor where it or its performance violates Belarusian law;
  8. to show press credentials on demand;
  9. to observe restrictions on campaigning established by electoral legislation; and
  10. to prevent breaches of the standards of professional ethics of journalists.

Journalists and legal entities entrusted with the functions of an editor of a mass media organ are not obliged to name a source of information and shall not disclose information about a source without its consent. However, this information shall be disclosed at the request of a criminal prosecution body or a court in connection with a preliminary investigation or trial.

v Private action against publication

Belarus legislation provides for certain types of infringements entailing different consequences.

Therefore, the Mass Media Law entitles individuals and legal entities (including foreign entities) that have been the subject of unjustified media reports damaging their honour, dignity or business reputation to demand editors to correct this information.

The Civil Code establishes that civil claims under these infringements imply a publisher's obligation to provide evidence that the disseminated information reflects factual information. Otherwise, the publisher is obliged to distribute a correction statement (amendment or clarification). The correction statement shall be published in the same place and font as the original article or broadcast at the same time of day and during the same programme as the original programme (or during a similar programme). Moreover, the concerned parties have the right to disseminate their answer in the same media or internet resources.

Along with the correction of information, legal entities have a right to claim compensation for losses and individuals have a right to claim compensation for losses and moral harm.

Belarusian law contains provisions on liability for libel, insult and defamation, and for disclosure of information considered to be secret and violations of requirements in relation to personal data. The legislation stipulates offences against private individuals, legal entities, representatives of the state sector or even the state itself (the list of possible affected parties is different for each offence).

vi Government action against publication

Article 33 of the Constitution of Belarus prohibits censorship and monopolisation of the mass media by the state, public associations or individuals.

However, some critics claim that there is an uneven playing field for state and private mass media representatives. Critics have noted the favourable status afforded to the state mass media organisations, namely support in the form of financial, administrative, regulatory and bureaucratic mechanisms. In particular, these critics draw attention to accreditation mechanisms, the ability to obtain information from public administrative bodies and access to the process of formulation and adoption of legislation.

MinInform, as the central management body responsible for the mass media sector, may issue written warnings, suspend the issuance of media products and file lawsuits for termination of issuance of media products in cases provided for by law. MinInform, together with the Prosecutor General, the regional prosecutor and the Minsk prosecutor, also possesses the authority to restrict access to internet resources and online editions, as well as to grant access, again in cases provided for by law. According to MinInform's press releases, in practice it mainly blocks websites containing information on the sale of drugs and inappropriate advertising. Certain online resources providing extremist materials are also subject to takedowns based on court judgments. The procedure of access limitation is not fully transparent (e.g., the list of blocked internet resources is only available to certain state bodies and ISPs) and does not allow individuals to follow the practice of the regulator's decision-making to the full extent.

Under amendments to the Mass Media Law, the list of information prohibited from dissemination in the media and through internet resources is expanding. In particular, a ban has been imposed on posting public opinion poll results related to the sociopolitical situation and conducted without obtaining the necessary accreditation. Also, it is not allowed to post hyperlinks to messages and materials containing information whose distribution is prohibited. The cases in which access to internet resources is restricted and the release of media stopped have been supplemented by new grounds. Furthermore, the amendments to the Mass Media Law also allow restrictions to be imposed on accessing a copy of an internet resource to which access was previously restricted.

Intellectual property

i Copyright and related rights

Belarus legislation on copyright and related rights is created taking into account provisions of the main international treaties in the sphere, including the Berne Convention. The Copyright Law recognises the supremacy of international treaties. Consequently, the Berne Convention prevails and the Copyright Law defines protection of works of foreign nationals who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of Member States of the Convention.

A number of amendments to the Copyright Law came into force on 27 May 2020 (Copyright Amendments). They deal with the following issues:

  1. the introduction of an open licence as a non-exclusive licence concluded via a simplified procedure triggered by the commencement of the use of a copyright or performance of other actions specified in the licence. The licence must be publicly available so that anyone can read it before using it. By default, an open licence is free of charge. If the licence term is not indicated, it equals the term of the exclusive right for computer programs and databases, and five years for other types of copyright and related rights objects. If the open licence does not stipulate a certain territory, it is considered to apply worldwide. If the fee is established as a fixed amount, the agreement must also set a maximum number of reproducible copies of the work;
  2. the consolidation of a licence agreement and authors' agreement;
  3. the introduction of an author's right to conclude an oral licence agreement on the use of the work in periodicals, including a licensee's right to conclude a free sublicence agreement and subsequent use of this work;
  4. Belarus has joined the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (the Marrakesh Treaty). The domestic law on accession to the Marrakesh Treaty23 was adopted on 20 May 2020 and came into force on 3 June 2020. Libraries, educational institutions and public associations of persons with disabilities, in accordance with the Law, have the right to conduct cross-border exchanges of works in formats accessible to persons with disabilities. The State Committee for Science and Technology is responsible for coordination of the activities of state bodies and other organisations for the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. This has entailed amendments to the Copyright Law regarding the transformation of works into a special format;
  5. allowance of the use of small works and parts of legally published works to the extent justified for educational purposes;
  6. reduction of the minimum compensation for copyright infringement from 10 to one basic unit;24 and
  7. a new exception to personality rights (see Section IV.ii).

The information about a domain name owner may be hidden by the owner, which may complicate searches for an infringer (e.g., in cybersquatting cases). Previously, the registrar would refuse to disclose information because of personal data protection. The presidential Edict on Measures to Improve the Use of the National Segment of the Internet25 allows for disclosure of information about domain name owners provided the request concerns 'the registered means of individualisation' of the requesting party.

ii Personality rights

The Copyright Amendments have established additional provisions in respect of personality rights. In particular, a provision on the use of an author's name was introduced: the reference to an author's name when a work is used in a radio programme may be made either during the radio programme or by other means, provided that the radio programme contains information about those means.

The Copyright Amendments have also limited authors' rights to prevent the publication or the recall of an audiovisual work created in cooperation with a producer unless otherwise provided by the contract.

In a case regarding authors' personality rights, an author found out that part of his poem was published in a newspaper and its online edition without his consent, appropriate reward or an indication of his name as the author. The claimant sued for the infringement of his exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the work and the infringement of the exclusive right to communicate it to the public. The respondent referred to the Copyright Law and claimed that the part of the poem was used to the extent justifiable as informational purposes. The court held that free use of work in the mass media to the extent justifiable as informational purposes is allowed only in the context of current events reportage if the work is seen or heard; moreover, authors' personality rights must be respected when their work is used. Thus, all claims were met in full by the court.26

iii Unfair business practices

The Belarus media and entertainment industry market faces the following most widespread unfair business practices in the sphere of intellectual property rights:

  1. use of social network content without the author's consent;
  2. use of the mass media as a means for unfair competition practices;
  3. posting or placing photos in articles without due attribution; and
  4. misattribution of articles themselves (i.e., indication of a group name as a signature, rather than authors), which is contrary to the notion of authorship.

Competition and consumer rights

In general, the mass media may be considered an instrument for unfair competition practices.

The Anti-monopoly Law bans the following unfair competition practices:

  1. discreditation;
  2. misrepresentation;
  3. flawed comparison;
  4. unauthorised acquisition or use of intellectual property;
  5. blurring; and
  6. illegal acquisition, use or disclosure of information constituting commercial, official or other secrets protected by law.

As a form of protection from unfair competition, in practice, state authorities such as the Ministry of Anti-monopoly Regulation and Trade may notify MinInform of inappropriate advertising placed on a particular website. Subject to MinInform's decision, access to such websites may be restricted.

In recent case law, owners of internet resources have been obliged to post correction statements in the same place and font as that of the original article if the article posted on internet resources has been recognised as damaging business reputation.27

Additionally, draft amendments to the Anti-monopoly Law have been released for public discussion. The proposed changes affect, inter alia, unfair competition in relation to the acquisition and use of intellectual property assets.

Digital content

Because the Mass Media Law generally applies to internet resources, general requirements on unlawful content also apply to internet resources. The following types of content are unlawful:

  1. inauthentic information that could harm state or public interests;
  2. false information that discredits honour, dignity or business reputation;
  3. information prohibited for distribution, in particular:
    • information shared on behalf of an unregistered entity, if registration is obligatory (e.g., registration as a mass media body) or an entity about which there is an effective decision of the authorised state body on its liquidation;
    • propaganda on the consumption of narcotic drugs and different analogues, as well as information on methods of their development, manufacture and use and purchase locations;
    • information regarding minors who have suffered a wrongful act, without the consent of their representatives;
    • information regarding methods of manufacturing explosive devices and explosives, as well as objects whose damaging effect is based on the use of combustible substances;
    • inappropriate advertising (e.g., for tobacco products or alcoholic spirits);
    • information aimed at promoting war or extremist activity or containing calls for such activity, pornography, violence and cruelty, including propaganda or inducing suicide;
    • results of public opinion polls regarding the national social and political situation, referendums at the republican level or elections conducted without obtaining accreditation;
    • hyperlinks to information messages or materials containing information dissemination of which in the mass media or through internet resources is prohibited; and
  4. materials covertly affecting the subconscious or having a harmful influence on health.

Users may restrict access to certain sites voluntarily under a contract concluded with an ISP.28 Edict No. 60 clarifies that responsibility for the content placed in the national segment of the internet is borne by the persons who posted this information or the internet resource owners.

MinInform may block internet resources or online editions. To avoid this scenario, internet resource and online edition owners must:

  1. prevent the dissemination of restricted information, information that may harm the state or public interests, or unfounded information that is damaging to the honour, dignity or business reputation of individuals and legal entities;
  2. delete unlawful information;
  3. not disseminate information or materials previously disseminated by other mass media, information agencies or internet resources without a link (a hyperlink on the internet) to the original source, unless the copyright holder of the information or materials has established other terms for its further dissemination in the public domain (i.e., terms other than those for the original publication); and
  4. not allow the posting of information by other users without their preliminary identification. For that purpose, the procedure for a user's pre-identification during account registration and activation by text message has been established. This requires that terms and conditions shall include a warning about the inadmissibility of posts and materials containing information that is prohibited from being disseminated.29

If internet resource or online edition owners fail to perform their obligations, MinInform may issue an order to eliminate these violations.

Contractual disputes

According to the Supreme Court statistics, in the first half of 2021, there were 111 cases in the proceedings of the judicial collegium for intellectual property (25 cases fewer than in the same period in 2020), including 84 disputes in the field of copyright and related rights.

Typically, disputes concern the payment of debts, penalties and interest incurred for late payment. One recent case is the scandal of 2017 and 2018 in the music sphere. A national artist sued one of the main TV channels for not mentioning his name as music author either at a concert or in the credits. The internet version of the TV channel did not mention his name either. The court found that his copyright was not violated on television, as the titles contained information about the author. However, his name was not mentioned in the internet version. As a result, the author received compensation for moral damages.

Year in review

The year 2021 has revealed practical issues with the interpretation of constitutional rights related to the guarantee of freedom of expression, the prohibition of censorship and the right to receive and disseminate information.

The development of the media and entertainment sector in Belarus proceeds in advance of the development of corresponding legislation. The government is trying to maintain a balance between national interests and prevailing trends and ensure national security by imposing pre-identification and other measures.

This has been the year for amendments to the Mass Media Law. Certain measures minimising foreign influence on the Belarusian information market were introduced. In particular, foreign legal entities, foreign citizens, stateless persons and legal entities with foreign participation cannot be founders of mass media organisations or entities. Among other changes, the Prosecutor General, regional prosecutors and the Minsk city prosecutor are entitled to restrict access to internet resources and online publications used for the dissemination of information aimed at promoting extremist activity or containing calls for such activity, as well as dissemination of other information that may harm national interests. Now, as well as by means of a court decision, the operation of mass media entities can be terminated by a MinInform decision.

Recently several changes have been made to the Advertising Law concerning unreliable advertising, distinguishing responsibility, advertisers and advertising distributors, advertising distribution and electronic mailings. Among other amendments, the Advertising Law has introduced a limitation on the advertising in foreign TV programmes that can be distributed in Belarus without changing of its form or content. According to information on the MinInform website, the distributors of foreign TV programmes have the right to replace foreign-made advertising with Belarusian social advertising.

As yet, there is no case law dealing with the particulars of the latest amendments to the Mass Media Law. However, one recent case concerned the accreditation of a foreign journalist. In February 2021, an administrative fine was imposed on a person for the illegal production and dissemination of mass media products. It was established that the individual posted an article on the website of a foreign satellite TV channel without being accredited as a foreign mass media journalist.

Outlook

As social networks continue becoming more influential, accurately determining their legal status remains an important task for the future. The government might need to change its perception of certain groups, communities, bloggers or social networks as a whole with regard to their powers in the spheres of both information and monetisation.

Footnotes

1 Kirill Laptev is a senior associate and Pavel Lashuk is an associate at Sorainen.

2 Strategy of the Republic of Belarus in the Sphere of Intellectual Property for 2021–2030.

3 Information Security Concept of the Republic of Belarus 2019, adopted by Resolution No. 1 of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus of 18 March 2019.

4 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 17 July 2008 No. 427-Z 'On mass media'.

5 Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of 23 November 2018 No. 850 'On approval of the regulation on the procedure for preliminary identification of an internet resource or online edition users'.

6 Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus of 7 December 1998 No. 218-Z.

7 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 10 November 2008 No. 455-Z 'On information, informatisation and information (data) protection'.

8 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 17 May 2011 No. 263-Z 'On copyright and related rights'.

9 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 5 February 1993 No. 2181-XII 'On trademarks and service marks'.

10 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 29 December 2012 No. 8-Z 'On publishing in the Republic of Belarus'.

11 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 10 May 2007 No. 225-Z 'On advertising'.

12 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 12 December 2013 No. 94-Z 'On the counteraction of monopolistic activity and development of competition'.

13 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 7 May 2021 No. 99-Z 'On personal data protection'.

14 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 30 December 1997 No. 114-Z 'On mass events'.

15 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 17 July 2018 No. 130-Z 'On normative legal acts of the Republic of Belarus'.

16 Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 1 September 2010 No. 450 'On licensing of certain types of activities'.

17 Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 1 February 2010 No. 60 'On measures to improve the use of the national segment of the internet'.

18 Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 6 February 2009 No. 65 'On the improvement of the work of public authorities and other state organisations with the mass media'.

19 Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Belarus of 6 January 2021 No. 91-Z and the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus of 9 July 1999 No. 275-Z.

20 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 4 January 2007 No. 203-Z 'On combating extremism'.

21 Adopted by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of 25 December 2008 No. 2015.

22 Law of the Republic of Belarus of 18 July 2011 No. 300-Z 'On applications from citizens and legal entities'.

23 Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 19-Z 'On Accession of the Republic of Belarus to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled'.

24 The exact amount of basic unit is established by resolutions of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus. As at 22 September 2021, one basic unit equals 29 Belarusian rubles.

25 See footnote 8.

27 Decision of the Appellate Instance of Minsk Economic Court of 17 January 2018, No. 313-3/2017/1869A.

28 Regulation on the procedure for restricting (resuming) access to the internet resource approved by the joint Resolution of the Operational and Analytical Centre under the President of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Communications and Informatisation of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus of 3 October 2018, No. 8/10/6.

29 See Section I and footnote 5.

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