Media in Belarus in the conditions of total repressions

Prepared by the Team of the Belarus Democratic Forum

For a long time, Belarusian media have existed under strict censorship and pressure from the authorities. The situation significantly worsened after 2020, when all non-state social and politi-cal media in Belarus were closed, access to resources was blocked, and journalists were arrested or forced to leave the country. The influence of the Russian media, which since February 2022 mainly serve only the official agenda and promote the Kremlin's narrative on Ukraine and the West, has increased. The population of Belarus is exposed to massive propaganda. The current situation is a threat to the independence of Belarus, creates risks of regional security for the EU.
Belarusian non-state media and bloggers can only exist from outside the country. Their capabili-ties are insufficient to cover the needs of the population of Belarus for quality objective infor-mation. Hundreds of dismissed journalists have no possibility to practice their profession due to the lack of financing.
Of particular concern is the fact of censorship in the so-called "independent" media. A certain dependence of journalists and bloggers on one political wing, the "Office of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya", has emerged. This is related to distortions in the distribution of funds from do-nors to support media and NGOs. Not being able to receive funds from advertisers and subscrib-ers, the media became dependent on decision-makers to distribute funding. Facts of coercion to sign agreements prohibiting any criticism of "Tikhanovskaya's office" were revealed, which vio-lates the European legislation and undermines the foundations of democracy.
The existing practice of media support in Belarus should be substantially reconsidered.