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New digital technologies have provided new opportunities for freedom of expression but have also given the authorities new tools to silence free voices and track down dissent.
A prominent Britain-based anticensorship group says its research indicates the authoritarian government in Belarus plans even tighter restrictions on citizens' access to the Internet.

In a new report, the Index on Censorship says Belarus has "one of the most hostile media environments in the world and one of the worst records on freedom of expression."

It says new digital technologies have provided new opportunities for freedom of expression but have also given the authorities new tools to silence free voices and track down dissent.

The report says the authorities are applying a repressive legal framework and using new techniques such as online surveillance, website blocking, and cyberattacks against independent websites.

New legislation gives the Belarusian authorities wide powers to censor online content and to implement mass surveillance of citizens' online activities, the report concludes.
Sattar Beheshti
The mother of an Iranian blogger who died in custody has called on Iranian officials to make their investigation into his death public.

Gohar Eshghi, the mother of Sattar Beheshti, told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that authorities have not allowed her to see her son's body.

She accused authorities of torturing her son to death.

Iran's parliament called on January 6 for a special inquiry into Beheshti’s death.

The 35-year-old Beheshti was arrested at his home in Robat Karim on October 30.

He died several days later after complaining he'd been tortured by his interrogators.

His family was informed of his death on November 6.

Beheshti's death has led to several arrests and the dismissal of the head of Tehran’s cyberpolice, which reportedly arrested him for his online activism.

With reporting by Reuters

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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