Al Jazeera reporting on Belarus

In its latest film from the series “People and Power,” one of the world’s major media reports on Belarus. The film shows the Minsk office of Belsat. One of the Belsat reporters who co-authored the documentary “Belarus: Europe’s last dictatorship,” Katsyaryna Barushka, spoke about the original idea.

Where did the idea to make a film for the Al-Jazeera come from?

The idea of ​​the reportage appeared in the London office of Al-Jazeera. When the journalist Glenn Ellis began to prepare for his trip, he thought that Belsat would be a good source of information. He turned to me as an international coordinator. I gave him a couple of tips, which he liked and he offered colaboration. We perfectly understood each other with Glenn and worked on the film together.

Actually, he originally thought that since we had such a complicated political situation, it would be difficult for him to find colleagues. He was even going to bring his own cameraman. During filming, however, he was amazed at the number of high-level professionals working in Belarus. The film was shot by Belarusian cameraman Alyaksandr Masalski.

Did Glenn Ellis have an accreditation?

Yes, he did.

What did Tatsyana Karatkevich mean, when she said that the expression “vote count now matters more than vote iself” has a new meaning today?

Karatkevich meant that it is now important, how people vote, not the counting itself, saying that public support is more important than the numbers. I tried to convince the editor to leave the end of the quote, but the British were stubborn saying that the English-speaking audience will understand it anyway.

By the way, very often, being a Belarusian as I am, I tried to emphasize that “oh, it is not so bad here; here, for example, the initiative is good, and people are struggling here, and there’s an activist here.”

But British journalists and editors could not understand me. They said: “Girl, your country has a terrible human rights record. The duty of the journalist is to expose it the best they can. Then there will be more initiatives and activists.”


Why were you angry at for their review of the film?

Initially, when writing a review of the film, the portal did not even remember that some of it is dedicated to Belsat and its role in today’s Belarus, and Al Jazeera in general was presented as a channel of the country where sharia law is in action. But the fact that the film was made by a British person for the channel “Al Jazeera English” which is considered one of the most respected media outlets in the world, was not even mentioned.

You can watch the movie here.; photo: Yulia Tsyalpuk

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