Since August 2020, the authoritarian regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko has carried out a mass attack on civil society, independent journalists, bloggers and writers in Belarus. The EESC published an information report on the media situation in the country, making recommendations on how to assist Belarusian media companies and journalists who have fled the country and those who are left behind fighting the regime.

EESC member Tatjana Babrauskienė, rapporteur for the report, who presented the information report on Supporting the independent media sector in Belarus at the EESC May plenary session, underlined the significant contribution of the appointed expert, independent Belarusian journalist Hanna Liubakova, to the overall drafting of the report and stressed: "It is important to recognise the incredible work of Belarusian journalists, who have very often put their lives and families at risk just to get us the truth. We have a duty to protect and support them."

As the situation of the media in Belarus is a European issue, the EESC proposes that the Member States not only establish cooperation with independent news agencies in Belarus but also help to disseminate and report news from the country.

The information report brings to the table specific recommendations and sets a global example of support for media freedom in crisis:
•    visa waivers for Belarusian journalists seeking refuge from repression;
•    establishment of EU and national funds in Member States to support Belarusian free media and journalists;
•    legal, financial and psychological support for journalists suffering repression;
•    integration of Belarusian independent journalists in EU Member States through employment or scholarships;
•    elimination of bureaucracy in obtaining EU financial aid;
•    IT facilities to allow internet access and digital tools to circumvent censorship. (at)