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Human Rights Organizations and the Internet in Belarus

  • Date
  • November 1, 2004

It is now generally accepted that the Internet has a great capacity to expand public access to information and to strengthen civil society through building national and international networks. Importantly, the Internet allows two-way communication: all Internet users can be at once speakers and listeners. “The Internet allows responsive communication from one-to-one, from one-to-many, and from many-to-one”. Accordingly, human rights activists are becoming more and more motivated to take into account the Internet’s growing force, and to exploit its potential for communicating and sharing information.

Interactive policy forums and email have become a major communication tool on human rights issues. The potential impact of the increasing use of the Internet to foster participation in policymaking processes is also tremendous: it is a means of speedy, inexpensive, relatively easy-to-use, difficult-to-restrict, informal medium which could spur public interest and desire to shape policy.

This article analyzes to what extent human rights activists in Belarus have begun to tap into power of the Internet, what is largely missing, and what has yet to be done.

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