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”).
From the historical theme, the state-run TV seamlessly transitioned to denouncing opponents, frequently employing a technique of linking the complicity with the Nazis with the opposition symbols, as well as airing anti-Polish rants in connection with the centenary of the Peace of Riga, after which Western Belarus became part of Poland.
STV editorials retain the most aggressive orientation fishing for geopolitical sensations, conspiracy theories and mystical explanations of what is happening in the country and the world. The video series glorifying the heroes of state-run TV (Lukashenka, security officials, pro-government figures) and blaming enemies (oppositionists and "traitors") all the way to comparing them with rats raises the image of political confrontation in the country to the level of a sacred battle.
One of the notable topics of the week was the work of the Constitutional Commission. State TV channels stressed that the current Constitution has not exhausted itself, and the dominant request from the society is for order and stability.
Although state-run TV likes to emphasize the sovereign path of Belarus, criticize the imposition of alien standards, if necessary, it willingly supports he argument for domestic legislative innovations with international practices.
Key narratives can be found in APPENDIX 1.
References to foreign experience allow presenters to fend off accusations of the repressive nature of the legislation. To this end, they present a curated selection of specific provisions and indications of police brutality in Western countries.
As March 25 draws near, the exposure of the opposition and information preparation for the suppression of possible rallies intensified. TV channels aired the exercises of the internal troops with promises to repeat the earlier forceful scenario as needed. Prominent opposition figures were accused of preparing a bloody insurgence.
The coverage of the work of the Constitutional Commission, the expansion of the functions of the HTP administration and the preparation of some legislative changes for the spring session formally brought the reform orientations of state channels to a higher-than-usual level.
The uniformity of the broadcast has somewhat increased against the background of the aired military-historical narrative and the coming date of March 25, the next date for the ideological consolidation of the state-run TV.
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.