Belarus classifies Deutsche Welle as “extremist”

Peter Limbourg criticized the use of “cheap tricks”, seeing them as evidence of the growing nervousness in Minsk.

DW CEO Peter Limbourg accused Belarus of using tricks to take action against those who want to form an independent opinion, after the Belarusian Ministry of the Interior classified all DW material as extremist, according to reports on Thursday (10.03 .2022).

Limbourg denounced the decision, which labels all of DW’s products – and even its logo – as extremist. “The blocking of our websites in Belarus in October 2021 had already been an unbelievable invasion of press freedom. The recent announcement of the criminalization of the DW logo shows how nervous the regime is,” he said in a statement.

He added: “DW is still informing many people in Belarus through censorship bypass tools. Especially after the attack on Ukraine, the numbers have increased significantly. Now, they want to use cheap tricks to create pseudo-legal bases to take measures against people who make use of their right to freedom of expression”.

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On March 9, the Government of Belarus issued a statement stating: “The Minsk Central District Court, based on material from the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, has classified the information products of the channel of Telegram and DW Belarus chat as extremist material.”

Also, it makes it clear that Deutsche Welle’s entire media and information network, as well as its logo in the form of two letters D and W, are now considered extremist in Belarus.

DW is not the first media outlet to receive this rating. By now, most of the independent Belarusian media outlets are considered “extremist”, including the portals Zerkalo.io, Euroradio, Radio Liberty and the newspaper nasha niva. The DW website has been blocked in Belarus since October 2021. Belarusian authorities warn that people could be fined and jailed for up to 15 days for saving or disseminating “extremist material”.

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Subscription to the channel Telegram it is not itself explicitly categorized as diffusion. However, there are people who have already received heavy fines just for having subscriptions to “extremist channels” in Belarus.

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