March 11 – March 17, 2024
Society and political parties

“There’s no money, but you hang in there.” Independent media lose their voice in the media space

The situation got worse
“There’s no money, but you hang in there.” Independent media lose their voice in the media space
Малюнак: Вася Ложкін

Radical positions and mutual criticism are expanding within the democratic movement. This negatively affects the ability to attract a broad audience to the elections for the Coordination Council. Funding for independent media is decreasing, which could lead to the re-domination of state and pro-Kremlin media resources in the Belarusian information space.

Tension within the democrats is growing against the backdrop of a prolonged authoritarian response, shrinking audience, and decreasing influence on the agenda in Belarus. In early March, several participants left the organizing committee for elections to the Coordination Council.

It is unlikely that election organizers will be able to consolidate and integrate broad representation of civil society and political organizations into the new convocation of the Coordination Council. Ultimatum rhetoric is spreading not only against the Lukashenko regime but also against colleagues in the Democratic movement. Meanwhile, elections to the Coordination Council remain on the periphery of attention for independent media and civil society.

The Democratic forces aim for success in relations with Washington and the development of the strategic dialogue “Belarus – USA”. Financial support for the democratization of Belarus is included in the US budget project for the next year.

Tsikhanouskaya’s cabinet is intensifying interactions with Lithuanian politicians, which helps to strengthen ties and prevent restrictions for Belarusian political emigrants. Tsikhanouskaya’s office organized a conference with the participation of the Speaker of the Seimas of Lithuania, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen; the head of the European Parliament’s delegation to Belarus, Juozas Olekas; the president of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Andrius Kubilius; and the leader of the “For Democratic Belarus” group, Žygimantas Pavilionis.

The influence of independent media on the Belarusian information agenda is decreasing. This could lead to an increase in the influence of Kremlin propaganda. $11 million was spent on the media holding of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.

In turn, independent media are experiencing budget cuts and scaling down their operations. “Radio Unet” reported a temporary suspension of broadcasting programs in the Belarusian language. After a sharp reduction in Polish funding, the “Belsat” TV channel may abandon several programs.

On the other hand, Belarusian independent media have found a place on a new satellite launched by “Reporters Without Borders.”

Thus, the new composition of the Coordination Council may represent more radical positions under the constraints of political migration limiting voting participants and democratic assets.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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