The attacks on Belarus, especially in the media, have to be confronted. The country’s information security requires prompt discussion, president Alexander Lukashenko believes.
The head of state raised the issue at the meeting with representatives of the Administration, the heads of the media outlets, and experts on 31 January.
Info security among major aspects of national security
Alexander Lukashenko doesn’t believe the authorities work well enough when it comes to Belarus’ information security.
“We have a lot to do in this regard, and the issue is of extreme importance,” the president said.
Lukashenko had brought the issue up in the phone talk with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin – the sides have agreed to include it into the bilateral agenda.
Overall, information security is one of the major aspects of the country’s national security. “We would analyze this problem at the next meeting of the Security Council of Belarus. It will be the first issue we would bring up,” Alexander Lukashenko instructed.
Oppose the attacks on Belarus
“We need no propaganda. But we need to fight for our principles and improve the country’s image,” Belarus president believes.
He said the attacks on Belarus come from different sides, and the country has to be able to oppose those. The information security on the Internet is vital, according to Lukashenko.
Efficiency of state media
The efficiency of the state media is the cornerstone of info security. And it is weak at present, the head of state thinks.
“Their efficiency is low right now, especially when it comes to competition with various channels, pages, and Internet sites,” Lukashenko is quoted by the media.
On the other hand, the country has enough specialists and experts. “However, we did not have a corresponding organization. We must know how to do it,” the president said.
Alexander Lukashenko believes it is high time to create an organization that will evaluate mass media ratings. “But it needs to be credible, so that people and especially the eveluated media will trust it.”
Mass media in Belarus
As of 1 January 2019, the registered mass media in Belarus list 700+ newspapers, 800+ magazines, nine national news agencies, 170+ radio stations and 100+ TV broadcast stations, owned both by state and private entities.
Belarus ranked 155th in 2018 World Press Freedom Index. At least 100 journalists were briefly arrested in 2017 and more than 60 were convicted of working for media outlets based abroad.
Read also: How Safe Is Belarus For Foreigner To Visit?
The loudest ongoing media case in the country is the so-called BelTA case. In summer 2018, police raided the offices of TUT.BY, major online news source, and news agency BelaPAN, and detained a number of editors and journalists of TUT.BY, BelaPAN, other media outlets on the charges of unauthorized access to data of the state-owned BelTA news agency.
The criminal charges were later replaced with administrative liability. In addition to fines, journalists paid damages (from 3,000 to 17,000 BYN).
As of now, the only remaining defendant in the case is the editor-in-chief of TUT.BY Marina Zolotava. Her trial is to start on 12 February in Minsk.