A general introduction to Media and Entertainment Law in Belarus

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Introduction

The dynamic evolution of the media and entertainment industry and the development of new tools and technologies have resulted in legislative activity focused on navigating the rapidly changing landscape in this sector.

Recent trends include continued revision of applicable legislation. In this chapter, special attention is paid to the introduction of new regulations in the sphere of media and intellectual property and legal developments that focus on personal data protection issues.

2021-2030 Intellectual Property Global Strategy2 And an action plan for the implementation of the strategy for 2021–2023 has already been approved. These documents fight counterfeiting in the digital sphere, product protection in the age of globalization and protection of intellectual property assets in situations that require immediate response.

Information Security Concept 2019 (Concept)3 Addresses the issue of harmful content distribution in the information sphere. The concept is a system of official views on the nature and content of ensuring national security in the information sphere. It also describes strategic activities and priorities in the field of information security. In particular, the concept asserts that relations in the field of mass media are based on legitimacy, reliability, respect for human rights and freedoms, diversity of views and moral protection, and other issues. Along with the constitutional provision of freedom of speech in Belarus, in order to comply with these principles, legal requirements have been developed for the distribution of mass media products that are compatible with international practice and generally accepted social standards. There is public control over the dissemination of illegal and inaccurate information on the site. At the government level, steps are being taken to prevent both the spread of false information that could harm national interests and anonymity in the data space. It is not allowed to use hidden technological methods that affect people’s consciousness or have a harmful effect on their health while distributing content. Government bodies and other organizations should follow the concept in their actions.

The current law stipulates that additional licenses are required to carry out activities in the media sector. According to the media law4 Media bodies are subject to government registration process. Television (TV) and radio broadcasting are subject to additional requirements for a license, which can be obtained by the media editor or an external organization. However, if the distribution is carried out by a telecommunications operator without changing the form and content of the distribution product, no license is required in the following cases:

  1. Under license to distribute foreign media products;
  2. Media body with a contractual agreement with the legal entity entrusted with editorial functions; Or
  3. If the foreign company has a license in the field of distribution.

Mass media law refers to an Internet resource such as a website, web page, forum, blog, mobile device application or other information source (or elements thereof) located on the Internet and used for mass media distribution. As a general rule, media law applies to Internet resources. An Internet source may voluntarily register as an online publication, and under the Media Act, its employees are considered journalists.

Some rules apply specifically to Internet resources. The media law provides a number of tasks for social network owners, including internet resource owners, and these include the introduction of additional measures to analyze and control information on internet resources. In particular, in addition to the requirements of the media law, the regulation of the pre-identification process of users of the Internet resource or online publication5 Explains user account requirements. The owner of an Internet resource or an online publication should identify users who leave messages in the comments section or forum, preferably with a short message service verification method.

In the year On 7 October 2023, amendments to the Media Act came into force. Such reforms refer to the improvement of mechanisms for the protection of national interests in the media, including, inter alia, the prohibition of foreign media activities on the territory of Belarus.

Provision of news collectors6 Introduces additional rules for publishing material by news aggregators, including a requirement to store certain background information about publications.



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