Two out of three commercials on Belarusian state television are placed by companies from Europe and the USA. This is shown by an analysis by Libereco. The repressions against Belarusians continue with full force, as the alleged murder of activist Vitaly Shishov and the attempted kidnapping of sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya have made clear. Therefore, the German-Swiss human rights organisation demands: Western companies must immediately end their financial support for dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s propaganda TV.
Western companies continue to advertise on Belarusian state television – despite the ongoing terror against the civilian population, tens of thousands of arrests and over 600 political prisoners. Even immediately before, after and during political broadcasts and propagandistic news formats, commercials by Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Henkel, Coca-Cola or L’Oréal run, as a sample analysis by Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights shows.
For one week, from 12 to 18 July, the German-Swiss human rights organisation observed and analysed the commercial breaks of the three state-owned television stations Belarus 1, ONT and CTV, each from 7 to 10 pm.
The result: Out of a total of 874 commercials, almost two-thirds (63 percent) were made by Western companies. The leaders are US companies with a total share of 32 percent. Companies from Belarus itself place a total of 25 percent of the spots. Companies from India, Russia and Turkey accounted for the remaining 12 percent of the advertising spots (You can find the raw data here).
Commercials from Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Mars and others
By far the most commercials were aired by Procter & Gamble (100, USA) and Nestlé (79, Switzerland), followed by Mars (44, USA), Henkel (43, Germany), Colgate-Palmolive (37, USA) Sandoz (35, Switzerland), Coca-Cola (35, USA), PepsiCo (33, USA), Dr. Theiss Naturwaren (32, Germany) and Mondelez International (29, USA).
A further 82 commercials were broadcast by the following Western companies: Carlsberg (Denmark), L’Oréal and Sanofi (both France), Dolorgiet (Germany), GlaxoSmithKline (UK), Sniezka (Poland) and Gedeon Richter (Hungary).
More than 40,000 arrests in the past 12 months, at least 1800 documented reports of torture and currently more than 600 political prisoners: this is the current record of Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. Libereco therefore calls on all companies from the EU, the USA, Switzerland and the UK to immediately stop placing advertisements in Belarusian state media and thus no longer financially support the regime.
“The corporations have lost all sense of injustice”
“For a year now, the Lukashenko regime has been terrorising its own population; even the worst PR manager should have noticed that. The fact that global brands like Procter & Gamble, Mars, Henkel, Coca-Cola or PepsiCo continue to advertise on the dictator’s propaganda channels is a scandal. The companies obviously only care about their profits, they do not care about the catastrophic human rights situation in Belarus. The Western corporations have lost all sense of injustice, this is a moral declaration of bankruptcy,” says Libereco’s Chairman in Germany, Marco Fieber.
The President of Libereco Switzerland, Lars Bünger, emphasises with regard to the food giant Nestlé, which despite criticism continues to widely advertise its products on Belarusian state television: “The company was comprehensively informed by us in a personal conversation at the beginning of July about the human rights situation in Belarus. After the recent shocking events, we now expect a very soon public statement from Nestlé on how they will end their advertising in Belarusian state media.”
Fieber and Bünger appeal to politicians to ban advertising by international companies in Belarusian state media as a targeted sanction against the criminal Lukashenko regime.
In addition to the sanctions already imposed by numerous countries, Libereco also calls on all democratic governments to take further punitive measures against the ruling regime in Belarus. Among other things, the organisation is pushing for Belarusian banks to be excluded from the international payments system Swift and for a ban on trading in Belarusian government bonds. Instead of the red-green Belarusian flag, which represents the Lukashenko regime, the white-red-white flag should be used internationally.