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18 November 2020

Research shows citizens are turning off and tuning out president

Belarussians are tuning out their beleaguered president Aleksandar Lukashenka in the search for trusted sources of news, new research has revealed.

Citizens are turning to online sources of news.
Citizens are turning to online sources of news.

In a survey carried out by Dr Sam Greene, director of the King’s Russia Institute, and Sociolytics, fewer than a third of respondents said they watched one of Belarus’s four state-owned televisions stations with any regularity.

By contrast, three-quarters of respondents said they sought news from social media outlets at least several times a week. Services like Telegram, Nexta, and now make up the most trusted sources of news among the majority of Belarussians.

The research was revealed in an article by Dr Greene and Anna Lyubimtseva, from Sociolytics Ltd (UK), which featured in the Washington Post.

Though President Lukashenka’s disputed election victory in August and subsequent crackdown on protests caused many to switch-off the (state-run) TV and turn instead to online sources of news, it was the president’s dismissal of coronavirus as a hoax early in the year that prompted people to seek independent sources of information.

You can read more about the survey findings here.

In this story

Samuel Greene

Professor of Russian Politics