MINSK, 11 February (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with heads of the country's biggest state-run media outlets on 11 February, BelTA has learned.
“Of course, we will discuss specific issues with you, everyday problems facing mass media. I suggest embarking on an open discussion, a dialogue. Maybe, you have some questions that go beyond the agenda of today's meeting. Maybe, there will be some questions related to nuts and bolts of running a media outlet or questions related to ideology, including the recent talks with the Russian Federation. After all, you do not just run the country's biggest media outlets, you are also actively involved in creating media products,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He noted that it was high time he had met with heads of state-owned media. About two years have passed since a major personnel reshuffle in all the biggest state media. “It is time to review the fulfillment of the instructions, including the instructions given during your appointment, and to hear your vision of the work strategy. We also need to update the tasks facing mass media outlets,” the president noted.
In his words, these tasks are quite challenging, because ongoing developments raise concern. “Clashes, geopolitical instability across the world, including in our region – this all is part of today's agenda,” the head of state said.
The president noted that information sovereignty is part and parcel of any country's independence. Information sovereignty is about the right to pursue a country's own information policy, to build its national information infrastructure and to maintain information security. “Being an independent and sovereign state, we should defend this right no matter what it takes, including in the information landscape. It seems there is nothing for us to confront in the media field, but unfortunately we have to fight,” he emphasized.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that Belarus' information security concept was developed and passed less than a year ago to resist new risks, challenges and threats. “I do not know how efficient it is. You know better. However, this is the first serious step towards developing our information security strategy. Maybe, this concept as a living thing should be subject to improvements,” the head of state said.
Taking part in the meeting were Chairman of the National State Television and Radio Company Ivan Eismont, Chairman of the Board of the Second National TV Channel (ONT TV channel) Marat Markov, Director General of the STV TV channel Igor Lutsky, Director General of BelTA News Agency Irina Akulovich, Director – Editor-in-Chief of the Belarus Segodnya Publishing House Dmitry Zhuk, Director – Editor-in-Chief of the Zvyazda Publishing House Pavel Sukhorukov, Director of the National Branch (Office) of the Interstate Television and Radio Company Mir Vladimir Pertsov.
As of early 2020, there were over 1,600 print media outlets, 9 news agencies, 20 online media outlets and 270 television and radio broadcasters in Belarus. Belarusian audience has access to more than 270 foreign cable channels and about 3,000 foreign print media outlets.