August 19, 2008

Media Expert Says Belarusian State Media Cover Election Insufficiently

Text of report by Belarusian privately-owned news agency Belapan

Minsk, 19 August: Non-governmental mass media have been covering the election process participants much broader in comparison with non-governmental ones, media expert Ales Antsipenka, a member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) public association, told a news conference in Minsk on 19 August.

BAJ presented to journalists the second bulletin about the mass media's coverage of the parliamentary election campaign. This time, the monitoring covered the activity of 20 mass media from 1 to 15 August.

Antsipenka said that state mass media continue to cover the election process "according to a simplified scheme, which means without paying attention to other (except for the Central Electoral Commission and the president) players". For example, state Internet news agency BelTA gave 87 per cent of its space to the Central Electoral Commission and the president, and Gomel regional radio has devoted 12 times more time to weather forecast than to the election process. "Proposing this scheme, they do not inform voters about real and potential players in the election process and about their activity," Antsipenka said.

Non-governmental mass media give a more complete picture of the election process, they treat its participants in a more balanced way, the expert said. In Sovetskaya Belorussiya newspaper there were six players mentioned, while in Belorusy i Rynok there were 15," he said.

Originally published by Belapan news agency, Minsk, in Russian 1147 19 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.