The report summarises the findings of the monitoring of the 2019 parliamentary election coverage in Belarusian media.
On November 14, the Belarusian Association of Journalists presented the second stage of its Monitoring of the Media Coverage of the Parliamentary Elections-2019.
Situation in Mass Media Field in July – September 2019. The situation in the Belarusian mass media field has remained calm on the eve of Parliamentary elections, which were scheduled for November 17, 2019. However, at least two journalists faced personal threats, which lacked investigation within the reporting period. After more than a three-month-long pause there were registered new cases of persecution of freelance journalists for their cooperation with foreign media. Claims were filed against several online media outlets to protect the honor and dignity of certain officials, but the cases are expected to be considered in court in November 2019.
On October 23, 201, the Belarusian Association of Journalists presented the first stage of its Monitoring of the Media Coverage of the Parliamentary Elections-2019.
SITUATION IN MASS MEDIA FIELD IN JANUARY – JUNE 2019 The general situation in the Belarusian mass media field was controversial in the first half-year 2019. On the one hand, it was influenced by the overwhelming trend of reinforcing governmental control over the media space. On the other hand, due to hosting the 2nd European Games, the official authorities were pushed towards greater openness of the country. A complicated foreign policy and economic situation in Belarus, including negotiation processes with the European Union and the United States, the increasing size of external debt and pressure on the part of Russia as well as the approaching elections to the Belarusian parliament (scheduled for November 17, 2019) should be taken into account, too.
A range of amendments was introduced into the Belarusian mass media legislation in June 2018. They tightened governmental control over the media field and the Internet in particular. However, it should be noted that even before that the state regulation in this field had been one of the strictest in the region. It is worth mentioning the restricted access to a popular Web-site charter97.org in Belarus, criminal cases, connected to the freedom of expression of opinions, and the reinforced pressure on freelance journalists for their cooperation with foreign media among the events and tendencies in the Belarusian mass media field in the first half-year 2018. There were continued arbitrary detentions of journalists and registered other obstacles to their activity. All that was taking place against the background of the commenced dialogue between Belarus and the EU and the statements about liberalization in the country, delivered by Belarusian authorities.