"Biased" Media Coverage of Belarus Elections

Europe-East, January 23, 2002 | Go to article overview

"Biased" Media Coverage of Belarus Elections


According to the European Institute for the Media, the EU-backed NGO monitoring election coverage in transition countries, media coverage of the presidential elections in Belarus in September 2001 was heavily biased in favour of the incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko.It says he dominated election coverage on the state television channel BT, receiving 58% of the output devoted to all candidates. His dominance of BT news programmes was even more pronounced: he received 85% of the total time devoted to the candidates. Lukashenko also dominated coverage on the Russian channels, watched by a majority of prime time Belarusian viewers. ORT, RTR and NTV gave the incumbent over 90% of their news coverage of all candidates, with RTR going so far as to show a promotional film in favour of the incumbent.State print media were equally biased in favour of Lukashenko, who received between 70 and 90% of the total coverage devoted to the candidates in the outlets that were monitored, says EIM's final report. And monitoring of state media in two important regional centres, Grodno and Gomel, confirmed a similar pattern. …

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