Belarus makes subscribing to ‘extremist’ Telegram channel a criminal offense
In Belarus, subscribers to Telegram channels designated as “extremist” will be tried for extremism. This was reported by the Telegram channel of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GUBOP), which publishes news about the activities of the Belarusian security forces.
The government adopted the corresponding resolution on Tuesday, October 12. It allows for recognizing “unregistered groups of citizens, carrying out extremist activities, including on messengers and social networks,” as extremist formations.
Under the corresponding article of the criminal code, this carries a maximum punishment of seven years in prison.
The Belarusian authorities have designated more than 100 Telegram channels as “extremist” — the overwhelming majority of them have a political bent and are critical of President Alexander Lukashenko.
The largest opposition channel designated as “extremist” is Nexta Live. At the time of this writing, it has more than 984,000 subscribers.