Meet Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova), an exiled Belarusian journalist, non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, and 2023 Oslo Freedom Forum speaker.
Liubakova began her career at the only independent Belarusian news channel, Belsat TV, where she worked as a correspondent, presenter, and host of their main news program, “In Focus.”
But after her investigative reporting and in-depth analyses exposed the corruption of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime and its repression of dissidents, she found herself forced to flee her country after the government unleashed a brutal crackdown on independent journalism.
She left the country in 2020, she said, because “even before the elections and protests, I was surveilled. … I got this sort of signal that it was better for me to leave the country. Now I report about [those] protesters from exile.”
Even from outside Belarus, Liubakova’s reporting remains a reliable source of factual, uncensored information for those inside and outside of the country. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, The Economist, Open Democracy, and the Conversationalist.
To keep writing requires courage: Belarus continues to arrest and imprison journalists at home, while Lukashenko’s regime attempts to practice transnational repression, targeting dissidents outside of its reach, like Liubakova.
“None of us can feel safe anymore,” she said. “But I’m grateful for the fact that I’m free and not jailed, as my friends are. Some of them have been sentenced to 15 years. So I think that I should do as much as I can to help release them.”
Liubakova and other changemakers will be sharing their stories on the Oslo Konserthus stage this June for the 15th annual Oslo Freedom Forum.