Government-run TV channel launches telethon to campaign for Lukashenka
The Belarusian public is not surprised by the fact that one of the presidential candidates, the acting head of state Aliaksandr Lukashenka, does not appear on TV with his election program or meets with the voters. In reality, the incumbent simply does not care about election campaigning, as he can safely entrust this to others.
Among other things reported by independent observers, in late August, the ONT government-owned TV channel and the Ministry of Culture launched a ‘nation-wide event’ entitled “We Are Together!”. The telethon is expected to be over exactly on the eve of the voting day, October 11. The TV channel has already arranged concerts in Baranavičy and Homieĺ featuring many popstars.
“The purpose of the action is to remind every citizen that when we are together, we are Belarus, an independent, powerful state,” wrote the Homieĺskija Viedamasci newspaper.
Despite raised hopes, a full turn toward Europe seems unlikely.
Do recent events indicate that Belarus could fully turn towards Europe and pull away from Russia politically? In the last few months, a number of developments have excited observers in international media and revitalised old debates about the former Soviet country’s future. But despite positive indications, a broader view suggests that this prediction may be overly optimistic.
In the judgment of most media freedom or democracy indexes, the Eastern European country is labelled as one of the worst in Europe and in recent years Belarus has shown no tangible progress towards establishing a free media atmosphere.