home    archive    search    downloads    subscription    contacts

Belarusian Review

Belarus' Forum

30 Minutes after Four Years of Silence

... Anxious to show the EU that there has been some progress toward a better election process, the regime was forced to make some concessions concerning its monopoly over the broadcast media. For the first time since 1994, every candidate was given the opportunity to make two 30-minute, live TV addresses to the nation. For most, it was the first time they had been on television.

A second innovation of the 2010 campaign was a live TV debate on 4 December. Despite a situation in which Lukashenka refused to participate and the program was stacked with hosts who were well-known state apologists, the other candidates agreed to take part. Unexpectedly, the candidates managed to turn the tables by collectively ignoring the hostile and biased hosts, asking one another questions, and becoming the directors of what many called the best TV talk show in the last 16 years. Although Niakliaev walked out after his introductory remarks, it was a rare, if not the only, occasion during which all of the candidates demonstrated some unity.

 The television addresses and debates, also broadcast online, generated extensive attention and provoked lively public discussions. As one blogger wrote, the TV presentations sparked a “war” in his grandparents’ usually apolitical village household; they fought over whose favorite candidate was better. For the first time, no one picked Lukashenka. Yet, the euphoria over this breath of fresh air has started to fade. After the 4 December debate, the nine challengers disappeared from the air waves. An appeal by several candidates to the Central Electoral Committee for a proper debate including Lukashenka and additional air time for all candidates was denied. As one activist put it, those precious moments were their “30 minutes after four years of silence.” Since then Lukashenka has had the electronic media all to himself, and the others went back to being virtual candidates, literally.

Iryna Vidanava is an activist from Belarus who frequently writes on new media.

This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 22, No. 4
Copyright 2010 Belarusian Review
All rights reserved.
Source: Excerpt from the TOL Special Report by Iryna Vidanava, 16 December 2010

Printable Version Counter: 1256
Belarus' Forum
Belarusian Culture
Belarusians Abroad
Chronicle of Events
Legacy of Chernobyl
Media Watch
News Briefs
Culture & Society
Freedom of Religion
Independent Media
Belarus & the World
Human Rights
Politics - Opposition
Politics - Regime
Thoughts and Observations
New Articles
The Center for Belarusian Studies (23.01.2011)
Declaration by the Coordinating Committee of Belarusians of Canada (23.01.2011)
Blood and Special Operations in Belarus Politics (23.01.2011)
Belarus: That’s enough democracy (23.01.2011)
Wrong Carrot, Wrong Stick (23.01.2011)
Statement By the Rada of The Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile
28th December 2010
STATEMENT (23.01.2011)
BNR Rada Rejects Election Results (23.01.2011)
A backfire in Belarus (23.01.2011)
Demonstration in London (23.01.2011)
StatementBy the Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels)
And the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies
A Nasty Surprise in Belarus (23.01.2011)
In Belarus, a Slide Toward Eastern Aggression (23.01.2011)
Belarus Police Arrest Opposition Leaders (23.01.2011)
No Business as Usual (23.01.2011)
Readers' Favorites
Belarusian Weapons Exports:A Possible Source of Laundered Funds? (15914)
The Exchange Rate Policy for Belarus (15758)
Kitabs, the Unique Phenomenon of the Belarusian Language in "Encyclopedia of the Belarusian language" (15700)
Belarusica at the AAASS Convention (14717)
Vaclav Havel - in Defense of Jakub Kolas Humanities Lyceum (14654)
Putin Doctrine: Immediate Threat to Belarus (14248)
Belarusian Currency: Problems and Perspectives (14115)
Is Lukashenka Winning Back Hearts and Minds? (13757)
DZIADY and Kurapaty Unite the Opposition (13422)
Belarus Represented in the World Book Fair (13403)
Minsk Wants Compensation from Moscow for Abandoning National Currency (13402)
Opposition Forms New Pro-European Alliance (13240)
The Sad State of Agriculture (12882)
EU Aid Misuse Fears (12390)
The Third Wave, or the regimes current tactics in dealing with independent NGOs (11967)