May 16 — 22, 2015
Belarus issues warnings to media outlets
The Ministry of Information of Belarus issued several warnings to Belarusian and foreign online media outlets. The Ministry sent out electronic warnings to kyky.org, radio “Racyja”, Tuzin.fm, the public association Free Region, and the website of the United Civil Party. Administrators of the websites claim that the Ministry warned them against disseminating information harmful to the national interests of Belarus and requested contact information of website owners. None of the warning letters stated exactly what was harmful in the content, although the Ministry noted that it would be sent in upcoming communications. The seemingly arbitrariness nature of warnings may be a way to pressure and impact online independent and foreign media.
Russia to educate the public about e-government
The Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications announced its plan to promote its e-government portal and e-government services. The Ministry is ready to pay 30.2 million Russian roubles (approximately USD 610,000) to promote e-government services within Russia. The Ministry advertised an open tender, the winning contractor of which will promote the e-government portal, and develop the website section which will educate the public about e-services. The Ministry claims that the public should receive more information about e-government portal and services offered. Initiative can promote the use of electronic services which will simplify the process for the public.
Azerbaijan to establish business incubator
On May 20th 2015, Seymur Agaev, CEO of the Mingachevir Technology Park, announced that upcoming establishment of a business incubation centre in the Park. Mr. Agaev said the business incubator will support startups and innovative technology. A similar business incubator is already operating in Baku and currently supports 40 projects. The main goal of the incubator is to promote as many innovation and technology start-ups as possible. Mr. Agaev noted that investors will enjoy tax benefits which makes the incubator more attractive. The initiative aims to attract more investment in ICT and promote startups and small businesses.
President Petro Poroshenko asks Facebook to open an office in Ukraine
On May 15th, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, held an online conference answering Facebook users’ questions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked Mr. Zuckerberg to open an office in Kiev with an administration independent from the Russian segment of the social network. Ukrainian activists say that Facebook blocks Ukrainian users for no reason, claiming that Russian users report posts about the Ukrainian crisis and Donbass as extremist and have them removed. Currently Facebook has a central European office in Dublin which monitors content in both Russia and Ukraine. Mr. Zuckerberg assured users that no one is monitoring the Ukrainian content from Russia. However, he also noted that there was a system error which assigned incorrect reasons for removing a post or blocking a user and apologized for this. Facebook has not yet responded to President Poroshenko’s request.