Won’t work, if we can’t do honest journalism: Belarus media goes on strike over election result and censorship

WION Web Team
Belarus Published: Aug 18, 2020, 07:25 AM(IST)

Protests in Belarus over strongman Lukashenko's election Photograph:( Agencies )

Story highlights

Pressure has been building on the ex-Soviet nation's longtime leader since the August 9 election, which he claims to have won with 80 percent of the vote.

The Belarusian media on Monday went on strike over election result and censorship, saying that would not return to work unless the government implemented five demands, including new elections and the removal of television censorship.

Approximately 300 employees of Belarus One, the national channel supporting the government, have resigned as many at the channel feel they can no longer work for the propaganda machine. It has a total strength of 2000 employees.

Also read: Belarus President Lukashenko gives nod to fresh elections

According to Kseniya Lutskina, a documentary maker among one of those who signed, “People feel that if we can’t do honest journalism, then we won’t work”.

“The problem for a lot of people is that the there’s no other television to work at in the country – it’s all state-controlled,'' she added.

Some employees walked out even before the recent elections, feeling suffocated by the atmosphere as Lukashenko jailed his political opponents and looked set to rig the election.

Also see: We come in peace: Belarusian women dressed in white protest against corrupt leadership

Alexander Luchonok, who worked for 18 months as a special correspondent on the twice-weekly current affairs programme Under the President’s Control, handed in his resignation a week before the election.

Talking about Lukashenko's supporters he said, “Even if they don’t believe everything in the reports, they think it’s important to keep Lukashenko in office.”

Even as the country was plunged into chaos last week, there were attempts to portray business as usual.

Workers at a state-run factory confronted Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with chants of "Leave!" on Monday as pressure built on the strongman to step down over a disputed election.

Employees at several factories also walked off the job after a historic protest on Sunday brought tens of thousands to the streets.

Pressure has been building on the ex-Soviet nation's longtime leader since the August 9 election, which he claims to have won with 80 percent of the vote.

More than 100,000 people took part in a "March for Freedom" in the capital Minsk on Sunday following calls from main opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya for continued demonstrations.

A brutal police crackdown has drawn widespread condemnation and appears to have turned even Lukashenko's support base at state-owned industries against him.

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