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 2016, 723 newspapers and 823 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 2016, there were 173 radio broadcast stations and 100 television broadcast stations in Belarus. 24 radio stations and 59 TV broadcast stations were private.
The majority of public radio stations is run by the local authorities.
There are around 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 national TV broadcasters in Belarus: Belarus 1 TV Channel, Belarus 2 (targeting youth audience), Belarus 3 (social and cultural), Belarus 5 (sport), National Television (ONT), Capital city television (STV).
A new regional TV channel Belarus 4 is available as of September 2015. The channel provides a platform for all the oblasts of the country. In each oblast the channel will offer an original TV product with a different label for each region: Belarus 4. Mogilev, Belarus 4. Gomel and so on...
The first and only Belarus’ international satellite TV channel, Belarus 24, began broadcasting in 2005 (Belarus TV). Today it broadcasts 24/7 for 270,000,000 viewers in 100 countries. The main TV content is news and analysis on major events in the country and the world, interesting TV projects, high-quality films, and, of course, a lot of programs on Belarus: the unique history and culture of the country, the main attractions and tourist destinations, Belarusian cuisine, famous brands, outstanding people.
The programs of the channel are transmitted via ABS-2, HotBird А13 and Galaxy 19 satellites. The channel is available to viewers in Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and North America. The programs are aired 24/7 in the Russian and Belarusian languages. The channel also provides online broadcasting on the Internet.
Around 200 international channels, including Euronews, BBC, Eurosport are broadcasted via cable TV in Belarus.
By June 2015 Belarus completed the switch from analog to digital broadcast television. Today digital broadcasting (the first multiplex of 8 TV and 1 radio channels) is available practically to 100% of the population.
The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the Law "On Mass Media" (updated in 2008 and amended in 2014) 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.
The Belarusian Written Language Day, an annual celebration of the Belarusian culture, language, and literature, occupies a special place in the calendar of public events in Belarus.
Contests for media outlets and professional journalists are held in every region of Belarus.