The Belarusian president recently grounded a plane flying between Greece and Lithuania using military force because it contained an opposition journalist who was broadcasting on YouTube.
As is known, many anti-government protests have been taking place in Belarus for some time. The government’s stance against the protests is also extremely harsh. The pressures on the people of Alexander Lukashenko, who has been president since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, are increasing day by day.
Lukashenko, dubbed Europe’s last dictator, recently forced a passenger plane from Greece to Lithuania to be brought down with the help of a military plane just to catch a young journalist broadcasting dissent. Police arrested Roman Protasevich, 26, who was on a plane, mostly working via Telegram and YouTube and running the Nexta news channel.
As it can be extracted from this event, there is no doubt that online platforms are channels where the authorities still do not fully control them. Television channels, for example, are first responsible, while the relative independence of social networks can be used by young people in particular to spread anti-authority messages.
Telegram, the encrypted messaging app, for example, has more than 1.2 million subscribers in Belarus, which has 9 million. This is, of course, due to pressure on other platforms. YouTube, on the other hand, allows people to broadcast directly beyond messaging. Professor William Partlett, who studies post-Soviet societies at Melbourne Law School, noted in a recent speech that these young people have known how to use the internet against regimes over the past few years. Because the mainstream is so controlling, the audacity and creativity on social platforms are at an extremely high level, according to Partlett. But how to profit in the long run is of course a mystery. And the authorities must be looking for ways to intervene to control these media.