Experts, non-government organizations, journalists and opposition parties have slated plans by Republika Srpska to extend the law on public safety to include the Internet.
The government of Republika Srpska has come under fire for trying to censor the Internet after proposing that the entity parliament discuss changes to the Law on Public Peace and Order in Republika Srpska.
The draft law, up for discussion in the entity Assembly next week, expands the definition of the public space to the Internet and envisages high penalties, including incarceration, for those who break the law.
In a press release on January 27, the government said it was possible to violate public peace on the net by either instigating a fight, or by threatening the safety of others, and that this public sphere, like others, needs to be regulated in accordance with the law.
The announcement drew a hostile reaction from citizens, experts, media professionals and opposition parties who accused the government of planning to censor the net.
Many agreed that by expanding the definition of a ‘public place’ from the real world to the virtual represents the worst form of violence over freedom of expression and imposes censorship over the Internet.
Opposition party deputies agree that the law is “unimplementable” from the perspective of European legislation.
They expect the draft to be rejected by the Assembly’s Commission for European integration and regional cooperation.
However, the proposal made by the President of the Committee for European Integration and Regional Cooperation Branislav Borenovic, for the new law on public order and peace to be withdrawn from the parliamentary session scheduled for tomorrow, has today been rejected.
Apart from the absurdity of such a law, citizens of Srpska worry how this proposed law, if adopted, might be misused and misinterpreted to cut down on public freedom on the internet.