The Journalists for Tolerance civil initiative (Belarus) has monitored for the third time the LGBT coverage in Belarusian mass media (June 2013 – May 2014). The research allows learning the general approach of Belarusian media to the issue. The trend has remained the same within the recent years. In particular, both independent and state-owned media tend to ignore the topic. However, if anything at all is published, it’s usually offensive materials in the state media, and neutral publications in independent media. These are mostly informative notes about events that can’t be ignored.
The outcome of all monitoring endeavors has revealed the following common problems:
- The absence of systematic publications on LGBT issues.
- Reference to the topic on specific dates, e.g., on the International Day of Tolerance.
- Journalists (or editors) do not act as initiators of publications on the subject.
- The ‘copy-paste’ of ‘copy-paste’. A lot of re-prints. For instance, an article from 34mag.net appeared in almost all analysed media.
- Violation of professional journalistic principles. For example, an opposition politician, who has nothing to do with the conflict sides, was asked to comment on the ban of a Gay-pride parade, issued by Minsk City Executive Committee.
The latest monitoring was conducted in the period since June 2013 till the end of May 2014. 11 web-sites were analyzed, including NARODNAYA VOLIA, NASHA NIVA, NOVY CHAS, RADIO RACYJA, TUT.BY, SB-BELARUS TODAY, RADIO LIBERTY, ONT, BT, BELTA, and NARODNAYA GAZETA.
Author: Zmitsier Karmazin, Master of Political Science, journalist, member of Journalists for Tolerance civil initiative