The 30-month international project "Belarus: Improving Media Education" was officially launched in Vilnius in May 2010. The project, which focuses on building capacity at the European Humanities University to enhance journalism skills and create TV programming, is supported by the EU and is implemented jointly by IREX Europe and its partners the BBC Media Action and the European Humanities University (EHU).
Belarus remains a tightly controlled authoritarian regime, marked at the end of 2010 by Presidential elections officially won by incumbent President Lukashenka, but whose results were broadly contested. Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets resulting in some 700 being detained. Dozens of journalists were attacked and some briefly detained; the KGB raided homes and offices of journalists to seize equipment and footage. Lukashenka told a press conference he had thwarted a revolution and promised there would be no "brainless democracy." He also vowed to "reform the Internet" and warned journalists that they should "stop jeering at the authorities and the people." (click here to learn more about the media situation in Belarus)
The European Humanities University is a Belarusian University in exile based in Vilnius, Lithuania, and its mission is to combat the Belarusian State’s control and suppression of Belarusian citizens’ right to education, and through providing an academic environment free of discrimination it aims to promote democracy and human rights in Belarus. The EHU offers quality liberal education and research at the BA and MA level via classroom teaching in Vilnius and also through “low residence study.”
The project aims to increase the role of the EHU and Belarusian academics in reform efforts through improved teaching and improved teaching content. Through the project, IREX Europe and the BBC will help the EHU Media and Communications Department set up a multimedia training facility (learn more about the Emediahub), where students will receive practical training in television broadcasting, radio, print, and modern multimedia journalism. This includes producing regular news reports, helping students gain concrete, practical skills and a solid base in ethical, independent journalism to utilise in their future careers.
The project also will provide increased access to independent, unbiased, up-to-date information through the dissemination of project-produced multimedia reports, including student news and information programming produced at the EHU. This will increase awareness and provide greater access to information, especially on issues which are currently low on the media agenda in Belarus such as women’s and children’s rights, EU-Belarus relations, European issues, economic issues, social and cultural rights and the right to peaceful assembly and association.
Emediahub goes online
To learn more about other IREX Europe projects in Belarus:
Supporting Independent Broadcasing and Freedom of Expression