Internet hostile to Belarus: president

MINSK (Reuters) - President Alexander Lukashenko said the Internet was full of sites hostile to Belarus and a law was needed to end such anarchy, local news agency BelTA reported on Thursday.

“It is time to stop the anarchy on the Internet. We cannot allow this great technological achievement of man to be turned into an information garbage heap,” Lukashenko told reporters at a press event to which foreign media were not admitted.

Lukashenko, criticized by the West for his iron grip over the former Soviet republic, said: “It is a massive loudspeaker, not even of the opposition, but a loudspeaker of voices hostile towards us, hostile states.” He did not name the states.

He said such sites should be ruled by laws similar to those governing pornography or defamation.

Later on Thursday a communist opposition party said it was banned for six months for paperwork irregularities.

The United States has dubbed Belarus “Europe’s last dictatorship” and the European Union has funded the creation of independent radio stations such as Poland-based Radio Racja, aimed at Belarussians, which can be listened to on the Internet.

Belarussian opposition Web sites have also become more popular since the president clamped down on the traditional independent press.

“There is more than enough freedom in Belarus today and no less than in other countries,” Lukashenko said. “If there are limits on freedoms somewhere, they come not from the authorities but from the people.”

The opposition Belarussian Communist Party, which counts 4,000 members, said its activities were suspended for six months because it had not filled in Ministry of Justice forms.

“We consider this a political move,” Sergei Kalyakin, leader of the party, told Reuters.