Belarusian govt tightens its control over Internet

MINSK, Belarus (AP) ? The government in the former Soviet nation of Belarus has approved a new law tightening official control over the Internet.

The legal amendments enacted Friday bar Belarusian businessmen from using outside Internet resources. They also formalize restrictions on Internet use introduced earlier by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, which required Internet service providers to monitor users and report them to authorities if they visit opposition websites blacklisted by the government.

Lukashenko, who Western rights group call “Europe’s last dictator,” has been in office since 1994, consistently suppressing opposition and cracking down on independent media. He won another term in a December 2010 vote that was marred by fraud and criticized by international observers. That vote sparked massive protests that police brutally dispersed.