Non-state media. Regional overview
Regional non-state print media writing about social and political issues is characterized by small circulation, narrow distribution, but relatively high penetration. It has little impact on shaping public opinion, but it is a good source of alternative information for a reader seeking for it.
Regional non-state socio-political media has been virtually eliminated, which reflects the general situation with the independent media in Belarus. The main factors affecting print media development are the low interest in social and political information because of the lack of competitiveness and the spreading electronic media.
Moreover, due to the specifics of the Belarusian media market, media is forced to choose whether it should be a business project (advertising and circulation growth in exchange for the lack of authorities’ criticism at all levels), or face stagnation and forced to leave the market for trying to influence socio-political agenda in the region.
Most regions managed to preserved only one local non-governmental professional, news-oriented print media. The total daily circulation of all these newspapers is under 70,000 copies.
However, the circulation of regional socio-political government newspapers is also low - around 150-170 thousand copies per Oblast. Local businesses and enterprises are obliged to subscribe to the local state newspapers. The main state propaganda tool is television, while the main source of independent news is the Internet- media. More: http://opendata.by/?p=1711
In the Gomel region the last non-governmental socio-political newspaper Gomelkaya Dumka was closed in 2005. However, in the Brest region there are five independent newspapers with political content. At the same time, some of these newspapers could be regarded as non-governmental socio-political media only to a certain degree. Due to careful editorial policy and the desire to maintain registration, some newspapers do not allow critical publications about regional and republican authorities.
The general trend on the local independent media market is that the impact of the print media is reducing. Due to the lack of quality and variety in the print media, readers tend to shift towards online media resources. Government policy towards the media is extremely conservative therefore this trend will only increase in the long run.
Political parties’ newspapers and newsletters with circulation under 299 copies cannot be regarded as a serious competitor to the state print media. Their audience is restricted by small circulation, irregular issues and unoriginality of the majority of publications.