Home Global News Belarus: From Poland, an online publisher challenged Lukashenko

Belarus: From Poland, an online publisher challenged Lukashenko

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When Stasiapan Putsila started a YouTube channel six years ago as part of a homework assignment, he couldn’t have imagined it would become the focus of the Belarusian president’s anger.

But that’s exactly what happened after that project, called Nexta, broadcasts protests against Alexander Lukashenko and his subsequent crackdown against civil society. NeXT flirts with both journalism and propaganda, and as a result, it is at the forefront of a new ecosystem of disgruntled media that use the messaging platform Telegram to shed light on what is often referred to as Europe’s last dictatorship. .

why did we write this

How do you speak the truth when your sources and audience are subjected to tyranny?

The defining moment for Nexta came in August 2020, when protests broke out across Belarus following controversial elections, giving Mr Lukashenko a sixth term as president. At the time, Nexta already had a solid following on Telegram and quickly became the center of protests in Belarus, which it coordinated and covered.

Mr Putsila acknowledged that he has no ordinary journalism project, given his protest coordination efforts and the absence of journalists on the ground.

“I can’t say that what we do is journalism,” he says. “We have journalists who collect information, but the information is not collected on the spot as it is impossible. People send us It is a new kind of journalism which relies on information given by the people.”

Warsaw, Poland; and Basel, Switzerland

You wouldn’t know it just by looking at it, but the yellow building known as the Belarusian House in the middle of the Polish capital is a source of great dismay for Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

That’s because it’s home to the offices of the Telegram channel Nexta, which since last year has broadcast protests against Mr Lukashenko and his subsequent crackdown against civil society that jailed hundreds of dissidents and media professionals. Was. Nexta’s coverage has also placed its own staff in Mr Lukashenko’s crosshairs, as demonstrated by the dramatic arrest of its former editor-in-chief on Sunday when fighter jets forced flight.

Operations outside Poland protect Nexata’s staff to some extent – although police still keep a protective eye on the Belarusian house – but the high stakes facing Mr. Lukashenko are constantly on the mind of Nexata’s founder, Stasiapan Putsila. “I am inspired by the heroes who are now in prison, who hit the road despite the repression,” he says. “I am inspired by those who, regardless of the situation, want to fight for the future, not just for themselves.”

why did we write this

How do you tell the truth when your sources and audience are subject to tyranny?

When it comes to Mr. Lukashenko’s regime, Mr. Putsila and his allies take the “fight for the future” nexta (pronounced “nyekta”) seriously. This places Nexta in a position that messes with both journalism and propaganda. Their crowdsourcing methods depend on the trust of those who risk it all to tell the truth. The result leaves Nexta at the forefront of a new ecosystem of disgruntled media that use Telegram to shed light on what is often referred to as Europe’s last dictatorship.

“We have never declared political neutrality,” says Tadeusz Gizan, the current editor-in-chief. “Our goal has always been to overthrow Lukashenko’s rule. We are waging an information war against him, his system. However, we do not lie in this war.”

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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