It is inadmissible to remove or edit older articles for the convenience of public officials or private actors, rhe Ethics Commission of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) states.
In December 2017, a scandal broke out when some independent media outlets’s deleting news materials about the detention and arrest of prominent Belarusian businessman Viktar Prakapenya (Viktor Prokopenya on Facebook); information became unavailable for searchers. As the articles were bad for Prakapenya’s international reputation and triggered foreign partners’ questions, they were removed at the request of his PR service. In some cases, the businessman’s representatives paid money for the ‘favour’.
In April 2015, the big name IT businessman was charged with getting revenue of 650 thousand US dollars without a necessary state registration as a business entity. According to the investigation, for a crime committed in an organized group, Prakapenya was facing up to seven years in prison with confiscation of property.
Spending nine months in Minsk detention facility Nr 1, Prakapenya, who pleaded not guilty, was released. Then the investigators reported that the businessman fully reimbursed the state for the damages caused. Later, all charges against him were dropped; at the moment, Viktar Prakapenya was in favour with Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka. In December 2017, shortly before the media frenzy, he announced that Lukashenka promised a ‘super liberal option with support for all the applications of blockchain, 100% absence of bureaucracy, support for all business models.