MINSK, 9 July (BelTA) – Different points of view are good, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with representatives of major mass media outlets in Minsk on 9 July, BelTA has learned.
“Most of the 250 people who are present in this hall are state-minded people, with a certain mindset. This is for sure. The fact that you may have different opinions on this or that issue is also normal. I take it well,” the president said.
According to him, there is a clear requirement at the level of the president that different points of view are necessarily taken into account ahead of any event. “The alternative, the competition are a must. A clash of opinions, a brain storm are welcome,” the president said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that some mass media have recently began publishing all sorts of conspiracy theories on why the head of state holds meetings with top officials and executives. "They are alleging that something extraordinary is up and this is why the president has to respond like a firefighter," he said. "I want to emphasize that there is no emergency,” he stressed.
The president noted that he is meeting with mass media to explain certain aspects of domestic and foreign policies, to comment on the current events, to answer topical questions that journalists and their audiences are concerned about. “We need to talk frankly with you about the issues that you are concerned about," he said.
The presence of state media is an important factor for the mass media market, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. Their number will not be reduced in Belarus, the president assured. The Information Ministry which is led by the newly appointed minister will be supporting such media.
The president stressed that the freedom of speech does not imply permissiveness, although some people understand it exactly this way, especially with regard to to the internet. Some media personalities have to deal with negative feedback in social networks, up to personal insults, for their publications. “You, progressive-minded people, have learned what freedom of speech is: if you say some wrong things, as they believe, you will be called names,” the head of state said. “Each of you has received a fair share of negative feedback for speaking up for the state, not Lukashenko,” the president noted.
“Freedom of speech is limited by law in any state. This is why we are going to sort things out here,” the president assured.