Monitoring of State TV Narratives in Belarus. Issue 7 (10/08/2020 – 16/08/2020)
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”).
Saturation with ideological narratives exceeded 80%. The main ones were the antagonism towards protests and strikes, the image of a “fort under siege” and aggression from other states, personalism and a narrative of convincing victory for Lukashenka, as well as calls for the social unity and the inadmissibility of the social rift.
The Conflictogenity Index reached an all-time peak of 6.2 points. One of the primary techniques was dehumanizing the protesters. The political goals of the protesters were ignored, their activities were reduced to pogroms and aimless loitering at someone else’s bidding.
During the week, the EU-bashing got gradually more intensive, especially targeted were Poland and Lithuania. While the topic of the Russian threat was, contrarily, raised much less frequently. State-owned TV eagerly provided quotes from Russian experts. By the end of the week, there were constant reminders about the possibility of Minsk receiving assistance within the CSTO framework.
There was practically no reformism in the coverage by the State TV, but the level of pluralism started climbing in the second half of the week. In addition to calls for dialogue, there were some critical opinions and minor reports about the peaceful actions of the opponents of the authorities, delivered in a relatively calm tone.
The uniformity of the broadcast content remained high; certain stories were repeated almost word for word. However, by the end of the week, the divergence between the channels started to grow.