A variety of print media and electronic media of different forms of ownership is operating in Belarus. Foreign media are widely represented in the national media space, too.
As of 1 January 2013, 692 newspapers and 739 magazines were published in Belarus. More than two thirds of them are private.
Printed press is available mainly in the Belarusian and Russian languages, though there are some newspapers in English, Polish, Ukrainian and German.
The most influential newspapers include Belarus Segodnya and the Respublika. Local editions of major Russian newspapers Komsomolskaya Pravda and Argumenty i Fakty are very popular in Belarus, too.
All in all, more than 4,000 print media outlets are distributed throughout the country, including those from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the USA, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia.
Nine national news agencies, including seven private ones, operate in Belarus.
The BelTA News Agency is the country’s biggest news agency, having the correspondent network in all the regions of the country.
Besides the local news agencies, Russia’s ITAR-TASS and Prime-TASS news agencies have their offices in Minsk. The correspondents of the leading world agencies Reuters and Associated Press also work in Minsk.
As of 1 January 2013, there were 166 radio broadcast stations and 89 television broadcast stations in Belarus.
23 radio stations and 57 TV broadcast stations are private.
The majority of public radio stations is run by the local authorities.
There are 30 FM radio stations in Belarus, including Radius FM, Radio Unistar (Belarusian-German media project), Europe plus and others.
The target audience of the Belarus radio station are foreigners interested in local events. The radio station airs programs not only in Belarusian and Russian, but also in English, German, Polish, French, Spanish and Chinese.
There are 5 national TV broadcasters in Belarus: Belarus 1 TV Channel, Belarus 2 TV Channel, ONT TV Channel, CTV and international satellite channel Belarus TV.
The broadcasting of International satellite channel Belarus-TV was launched in 2005. The programs of the channel are transmitted via Express-AM22 and Galaxy 19 satellites.
Today the broadcasting covers more than 60 countries. The channel is available to viewers from Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and North America. The programs are aired 24/7 in Russian and Belarusian languages. The channel also provides online broadcasting on the Internet.
Over 100 international channels, including Euronews, BBC, Eurosport are broadcasted via cable TV.
Today Belarus is switching from an analog to a digital broadcast television. The process is due to finish by 2015.
Digital TV is available to 94%of the country’s population.
The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the Law "On Mass Media", updated in 2008, constitutes the legal basis of the media activity in Belarus.
The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus guarantees the freedom of thought, belief and expression, prohibits the monopolization of the media and censorship.
The Law "On Mass Media" formalizes the basic principles of mass media’s activity: accuracy, equality, respect for human rights and freedoms, diversity of views; protection of morals; observance of the norms of journalist’s professional ethics.
The law is the basis for introducing the elements of self-regulation in the media field in Belarus. To this end, the Public Coordination Council on the Media was set up. It consists of representatives of mass media, journalism organizations and experts.