The purpose of this monitoring is to study how the Belarusian state conveys its ideological narrative. The most important mechanism for conveying its narrative is the evening broadcast. Then the informational function of media is complemented, and sometimes replaced by, the broadcasting of official ideological messages. We monitor the outputs of the Agency of the Television News (ATN), which prepares the news broadcasts for the Belarus-1 channel (“Panorama” and Sunday’s “Main Airtime”), the channel ONT (“Our News”, “Saturday’s Edition” and “Contours”), and the channel STV (“24 Hour News” and “The Week”).
On the one hand, the need for their development was recognized, but at the same time the emphasis was placed on the risks to stability and customary order that parties carry, low credibility and interest in parties in society.
Key narratives can be found in APPENDIX 1.
State-run TV keeps using the Soviet military-historical narrative to identify the threats of the past (war, Nazism, betrayal) with the current threats and thus deduces the mission of the current system — to defend the right attitude towards historic heritage. Along these lines of remembering the atrocities at concentration camps, special attention was paid to the Polish camp in Bereza, which supported the anti-Polish rhetoric.
In addition to the memory war the state channels exploited the date of the terrorist attack on the Minsk subway ten years ago. From the in-memoriam stories, they easily switched to exposing the opposition ("mankurts", "fugitives", "traitors"), drawing a clear connection between the explosion and their interpretation of recent events. The government's opponents were also accused of organizing economic terror against the country.
The wise Belarus’s strategy of dealing with the pandemic was again praised, which, according to the state-run TV, was not only greatly effective, but also helped to save the economy, in contrast to the experience around the world. The Western domain of chaos, protests, crisis, lockdown, sanitary and digital dictatorship was traditionally juxtaposed to the prosperous image of Belarus.
The coverage of the work of the parliament and the prospects for the development of the party system formed the basis of the aired reform topics.
State-owned channels adhered to their usual principle of consolidated broadcasting of narratives but allowed more variety on Saturday featuring the editorials.
The project “Monitoring of State TV Narratives in Belarus” is implemented by Sense Analytics in partnership with Press Club Belarus. The author of the weekly reports is Maxim Stefanovich, the editor and coordinator of the project is Artyom Shraibman.
To see the full version of the report in Russian click here.