This strategy paper answers the following question: What can the donors, media NGOs, and the management of professional media both in exile and in Belarus do to maintain the quality and the reach of Belarusian independent journalism?
Establishing sectoral standards of audience engagement and quality control and keeping independent media as diverse as possible is the solution this paper advocates. If this strategy is implemented, independent media will play a key role in shaping the political discourse in Belarus, enabling a dialogue between different parts of an atomized Belarusian society. In a way, this will be a continuation of the crucial role these media played during the protests in 2020 and the first six months of 2021.
Realistically, the business models of the recent past have collapsed for all, or almost all, of Belarus’ independent media. In the coming years, both project and institutional funding will be key to the survival of independent media. Equally important will be a robust NGO sector supporting the cooperation of professional media at the sectoral level.