In August 2020, Belarusians took to the streets to protest the results of a rigged presidential election. The protests soon became the largest in the country’s history and were eventually violently supressed, with tens of thousands arrested, beaten and prosecuted.
Extensive disinformation campaigns continue to enable and accompany the brutality of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime against its own citizens, independent media and civil society.
The Belarusian state-controlled media have been complicit in the brutal crackdown on dissent in the country. A forced televised “confession” from abducted dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich is one of many, but perhaps the most well-known example, illustrating that state-controlled media have become an extension of a repressive state apparatus in Belarus.
Lately, we have observed how the Belarusian state-controlled media aids Belarusian officials to weaponise migration into the EU.
The Belarusian authorities have repressed social media as well, for example by declaring the popular independent Telegram channel NEXTA as “extremist material”.
In the meantime, pro-Kremlin media continue to support and facilitate disinformation campaigns in and around Belarus, falsely accusing the West of engineering a “colour revolution”, claiming that the democratic Belarusian opposition was a “puppet of the West”, and labelling pro-democracy supporters as “zmagars”, extremists, terrorists and Nazi disciples.
EUvsDisinfo has been closely observing the media and disinformation landscape in Belarus. Below is our collection of articles on disinformation and information manipulation in Belarus.