The UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus has called on the country to "engage in a broad reform of its oppressive media governance."
In a report to the UN General Assembly, Miklos Haraszti said, "Media independence is rendered impossible through a permission-based system of registration and arbitrary rules regarding the revoking of licenses."
He also said practically all Internet-based forms of expression had been put "under direct government control."
"The system-wide violations of the right to freedom of expression are further aggravated by the systematic harassment of journalists who challenge the denial of their rights," Haraszti added.
Belarus has been ruled since 1994 by Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who won a fifth term earlier this month in an election that was judged by Western monitors to be neither free nor fair.