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Print out date: 20.04.2018 05:51
22.10.2015 21:37 Videos

Video: Media coverage of presidential race was extremely low-key, monitoring group says

The media coverage of this year’s presidential election campaign in Belarus was extremely low-key, Ales Antsipenka, head of the media monitoring group of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, told reporters in Minsk on Thursday.
The election was such a quiet affair because of the lack of real competition or public discussion of serious economic problems, the marginalization of opposition forces, and state media censorship to left out voters’ critical remarks about Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Mr. Antsipenka said.
This year’s presidential election received more coverage from the state media than the previous, 2010 presidential campaign, with the daily news show “Panarama” on television channel Belarus One devoting 19.15 percent of its airtime to the election campaign, Mr. Antsipenka said. Nevertheless, the distribution of airtime among candidates did not change, and Mr. Lukashenka remained the dominant figure, he added.
What also distinguished the 2015 election campaign was that the portrayal of Mr. Lukashenka’s rivals by nearly all state media outlets was either neutral or favorable, Mr. Antsipenka said. In addition, the state media essentially ignored the activities of opposition forces, giving them less than one percent of the airtime devoted to the election, he said.
Non-state media outlets mainly focused on the personalities and platforms of the presidential contenders, with Tatsyana Karatkevich getting the largest amount of newspaper space, Mr. Antsipenka said. The controversy surrounding this candidate within the opposition camp was one of the factors that generated media attention, he said.
Unlike the state media, private media outlets covered the activities of not only presidential candidates but also the government opponents who did not have a candidate in the race, Mr. Antsipenka said. However, their reports could not have influenced the outcome of the presidential campaign because of their limited audience and the “atmosphere of inevitability” in the country, he said.
Devoid of any suspense, this year’s presidential election was viewed by the media community as a campaign with a predetermined outcome, Mr. Antsipenka concluded.




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