Eloquent words always convey vital meaning
Minsk hosts 19th International Mass Media in Belarus Specialised Exhibition, dedicated to 70th anniversary of Great Patriotic War Victory
The exhibition’s strong theme was evident everywhere, and most poignantly in the symbolic flowers worn proudly by visitors. All those wishing could write messages to veterans at the stand organised by the Belarusian Telegraph Agency: ‘Proskynesis to You, Veterans’. Many a childish hand had written such words as: ‘Thank you very much for protecting our land!’ Meanwhile, the 70 Years — 70 Faces photo project, on the Gomel Region’s stand, presented the wise expressions of those who brought us Victory.
During the solemn opening ceremony, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Igor Buzovsky, read the President’s greeting. It stated that the event was both bright and significant in the life of the media community. Deputy Prime Minister Natalia Kochanova underlined, “It’s vital that every citizen preserve not only the memory of our war heroes, but gratitude towards the older generation. They should do all they can to prevent repetition of such events.”
Belarus’ Information Minister, Lilia Ananich, commented, “The motto of the exhibition is ‘Words in the Service of Peace and Creation’. In those years of most difficult suffering, when partisan Belarus fought fascism, words forged victory. Underground and partisan brigades released a total of 162 newspapers.”
The exhibition has long become an international event, featuring guests from Russia, the CIS, China, Venezuela, Cuba and elsewhere. Although the current forum is dedicated to Press Day, the electronic media is presenting its achievements on an equal footing with printed editions. It’s a wonderful opportunity for journalists, editors and creators of Internet portals to share experience and expertise, learning something new from our ever-changing information space.
Each year brings new technologies, especially in the field of information, influencing mass consciousness and public opinion. Discussions at the exhibition included how to tackle new types of content, how to best use new information transfer channels, and the stylistic trends of online journalism. Of course, the major topic was the accurate coverage of Great Patriotic War events, under the motto ‘No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten’.
Information Minister Lilia Ananich believes that the forum is a landmark event. She announced, “The forum brings together over 400 printed media and TV channels from various countries. The exhibition has shown how dynamically the media is developing in Belarus; of the 1,573 printed editions registered, fewer than 27 percent belong to the state. Regional television is expanding, with non-state TV channels appearing.”
Ms. Ananich emphasised that Belarusian people tend to have more trust in the national media than in their foreign counterparts. In this respect, she asserts that there is a duty to ensure that news stories are of the highest integrity and accuracy.
As is traditional, the forum ended with the Zolotaya Litera (golden letter) awards: a photographic contest involving over 500 photographers.
The Belarusian state media website (belsmi.by) launched on May 5th, was created by the Information Ministry, to support regional media, both printed and electronic, and to create a single access point for readers. Dmitry Parton, who is managing the site, tells us that most Republican media already operate their own websites and offer search systems for visitors from various countries. The new state portal ensures a single, high quality venue, with regional news presented equally with stories from the country’s leading resources.
The website has 232 registered media outlets: 3 news agencies (Minsk-Novosti, BELTA and Magileuskiya Vedamastsi), 21 TV channels, 51 radio channels and 151 printed editions. It covers around 10,000 back-issues of publications, with 100 additions daily. Mr. Parton stresses that 171 editions have joined the resource, aiming to place unique content, placed on a competitive basis.
The portal also has online broadcasting, with regional TV channels soon expected to join in submitting news clips. The new media portal plans to use social networks to promote its content.
The Director General of SOCIS Centre for Sociological and Marketing Research, Doctor of Sociological Sciences, Nikolay Churilov (Kiev):
The Belarusian press has an objective assessment of world events, including those in Ukraine. I take off my hat to the country’s leadership for the role played by Belarus in solving this most complex issue. The truth lies between many shades of grey; in assessing information provided by the Russian press and the Ukrainian press, we see that the Belarusian media occupy middle ground.
He is convinced of the vital role played by the media in disseminating information and stresses the importance of preventing facts from being distorted. This is the responsibility borne by the media, in every edition, to its readers, listeners and audiences. If the level of trust falls, internal policy must be reviewed, to change the accent of reporting and strengthen content.
By Boris Svetlov