German broadcaster DW’s online service blocked in Belarus

International

BERLIN (AP) — German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Friday that its online service and several other news portals have been blocked by Belarus.

DW, which is funded by the German government, said it was first alerted Thursday by some social media users in Belarus that it couldn’t be viewed anymore on certain internet service providers. This was later extended to all providers in Belarus.

The broadcaster said Belarus authorities stated on the website of the country’s Ministry of Information that access to several news portals had been restriction because they allegedly linked to websites spreading extremist material.

The head of DW, Peter Limbourg, protested against the decision and called the allegation against the broadcaster “absolutely ridiculous.”

President Alexander Lukashenko “has shown that he will stop at nothing to maintain his hold on power in his struggle against his own people,” said Limbourg. “The heavy use of independent news outlets clearly shows that people in Belarus no longer trust the government-controlled media.”

A spokeswoman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said the country’s ambassador in Belarus had asked authorities there for an explanation and demanded that access to DW’s website be restored.

Deutsche Welle provides news in 32 languages. It expanded its service in Belarus several months ago.

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