Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday ratified a law that allows authorities to restrict the operation of the country’s telecommunications networks in the event that threats to national security are uncovered.
The amendments to the Telecommunications Act were therefore included in the national register of legal acts after the text was approved by both chambers of the Belarusian parliament.
The new law provides that in the face of threats, the state can take measures that restrict the operation of telecommunications networks and the equipment that is part of that network, according to the Sputnik news agency.
The control of the telecommunication networks is carried out by an analysis center subordinate to the President of Belarus. Any non-compliance with blockades or restrictions by local operators will be considered a serious criminal offense.
Belarus is currently in a crisis due to the presidential elections on August 9, 2020, which gave Lukashenko a new term but sparked protests for several months.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, won 80.1 percent of the vote, compared with 10.1 percent for opposition candidate Svetlana Tijanovskaya. The Belarusian opposition denounced massive fraud and called for re-election, an option that Lukashenko ruled out.
During the demonstrations, the authorities restricted the use of the Internet mainly to block crowds and make it difficult to convene.