Ideological Rubrics to Be Introduced by Newspapers
Since 20 March all printed and electronic mass media will have to introduce new rubrics and broadcast cycles "on public security and discipline strengthening issues" and "systematically elucidate organizational and educational activities on strengthening of the working discipline".
These are quotations from Directive No.1 "About measures on strengthening of public security and discipline" that was issued by Aliaksandr Lukashenka on 11 March. The directive also obliges mass media to elucidate the topics of work safety, rational use of natural and energy resources, "work on maintaining of public order", prophylactics of debauchery and alcoholism (also among participants of traffic movement) and "exclude propaganda of violence and other immoral manifestations". The Ministry of Information is empowered to control the directive execution.
The press service of Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) asked some journalists what was their opinion about the directive.
Editor-in-chief of the "Belorusskiy Market" weekly Viachaslaw Khadasowski is sure that the directive action will spread on state media only without any impact on independent ones. The content of the directive he characterized as "the first but not last craze".
Editor-in-chief of the "Salidarnasts" newspaper Aliaksandr Starykevich assumes that the directive can be applied to all editions irrespectively to the form of property as the text of the document doesn't contain any exclusions. What concerns attitude to the directive content, "Salidarnasts" workers expressed it in the morning of 12 March by drinking a bottle of champagne. "It is not a habit, but a sign of protest", -- says Aliaksandr Starykevich. He states that if any of the mentioned rubrics appear in "Salidarnasts" they will be of such a kind that the authorities will beg for their removal.
Head of BAJ Mass Medial Legal Defense Center Mikhail Pastukhow points out that it is the first time when A. Lukashenka used such form of normative act as directive. "Directives are acts of the state of emergency. It is hard to imagine what was the point in adopting such type of document in Belarus, especially in the context of the latest events in the world", -- says Mikhail Pastukhow.