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Macedonian Government to Introduce Internet Filtering

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Macedonia, Economics & Business, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Technology

Airborne blog commented [1] on the Macedonian government's plan to set up a new company [2] to provide online betting and other gambling to residents of Macedonia:

The plan will involve “disabling of betting/gambling online games on foreign web sites”. This blockade is set to last two years beginning in March 2014.

Citing benefits for “the [Macedonian] state and society”, blocking of the sites will be carried out by the Agency for Electronic Communications and the Ministry for Information Society.

Given the extremely poor record of the Macedonian government on media freedom [3] and previous unsuccessful attempts to legislate liability for Internet access providers [4] for content published via their services, it's not too difficult to imagine a more broad use of the blocking mechanism once it is set up.

At this point, raising concern about the proposed plan for blocking access to site is the least we can do. The communities from the Internet should rally again.

The blocking mechanism is set to take effect sometime in March [5] [mk], following a change in the Law on Games of Chance [6] [mk] adopted on December 28, 2013.

The State Lottery [7] operates under the motto “It's for good” and holds monopoly on most kinds of gambling, while it also administers other government lottery schemes [8].