Nasha Niva / NN.BY is one of the leading independent media platforms in Belarus. NN.BY is the most popular web site in the Belarusian language in the WWW.
Its monthly audience has been 70,000—200,000 unique users a month according Audience.by, 15,000—40,000 visitors a day according Akavita.by in 2011—2012.
For all of its existence Nasha Niva / NN.BY has been a voice of the Belarusian civil society and contributed to the consolidation of the national identity.
Nasha Niva is a 100-year-old Belarusian newspaper, what is a unique case in Belarusian media sphere. Throughout this century Nasha Niva was a moderate publication, advocate of peaceful progress, valuing human rights and dignity and respect for any culture.
Nasha Niva has never been state-owned newspaper and receives its main funds from donations what makes Nasha Niva to be close to public media.
There has always been the space for sounding Belarusian nation’s interests, but never those of authoritarian government.
It provides readers with objective information and clear analyses of the political, economic, and social developments.
Nasha Niva’s website www.nn.by has been launched in 1997.
In 2012 it introduced short Russian-language and English-language mirrors.
In 2006 the independent newspaper Nasha Niva celebrated its 100th anniversary in an extraordinary situation. Belarusian authorities banned its distribution.
Nasha Niva was first founded in 1906, when Belarus was still part of the Russian Empire.
Naša Niva in Belarusian means «Our Field». It was the first Belarusian newspaper. Over the first years it has been published in two versions: both Latin and Cyrillic characters. Nasha Nivawas the attraction centre for civil society; it became the mouthpiece for youths, publishers, farmers’ initiatives.
Years 1906—1915 of Belarusian history are called «Nasha Niva period» as the first issue ofNasha Niva of 10th November, 1906, presented a brand new epoch in the development of Belarusian society.
In fact, Nasha Niva created new Belarusian literary language norms at the beginning of the 20th century.
At those times Nasha Niva embraced Belarusian classical literature creators, it was closely connected with ideas of Belarusian nation state establishment. Nasha Niva became the hub of Belarusian intellectual activity. Prominent Belarusian personalities like Janka Kupala, Jakub Kolas, Maksim Bahdanovich, Anton Luckievich, and Vaclau Lastouski worked in Nasha Niva or published their works in it.
Nasha Niva covered a wide range of political, economic and cultural issues, setting Belarusian political nation consolidation its primary goal. Nasha Niva played the role of the primary information source, not hit by governmental bias.
Journalists and authors from every corner of Belarus fixed all widely used language phenomena thus developing Belarusian literary language. The very essence of modern Belarusian language, its grammar was developed due to constant practice on the newspaper’s pages.
However, the history of Nasha Niva is also the history of oppression and resistance, from its first days.
Finally, in 1915 tsar censorship made the publishing impossible.
The first restoration attempt was made in Vilnius October 1920, but in December 1920 it was forced to close down by Polish militaries and wasn’t operating till 1990’s.
With the USSR collapse, there came a new attempt.
A group of pro-democratic intellectuals re-established Nasha Niva in 1991.
Because of its pro-democracy stance, Nasha Niva had to be printed in Lithuania for a while; today it is based in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.
Complex social and political processes in Belarus triggered Nasha Niva’s transformation from an intellectuals’ and literary persons’ edition to the newspaper covering acute social, political and cultural topics; the editorial office was moved to Minsk in 1996.
In December 2008 Nasha Niva returned to open distribution under pressure on the official Minsk from the European Union.
Late Vaclav Havel once called the paper Nasha Niva «the symbol of Belarusian independence and the island of freedom».
Andrej Dynko, Andrej Skurko, and Zmicier Pankaviec are the newspaper editors now.
Highly critical of the Lukashenka regime, Nasha Niva’s offices have been raided by the Belarusian KGB, Prosecutors’ office, and Ministry of Information warned it officially many times for publishing «inappropriate content.»
The paper’s reporters have been jailed, beaten. The paper shares the Belarusian civil society fate and aims.
For years the basis of the state policy in Belarus has been restrictions of so-called democratic institutions of Belarusian society including a free press.
Independent media outlets work within severe borders of legislation, acts and economic regulations that give very little opportunity to develop and stand the competition with state-owned newspapers. Repression against free media escalated in 2011. Nasha Niva / NN.BYwas under attack as well. After a series of warnings from KGB, Prosecutors’ Office and Ministry of Information the Ministry sued Nasha Niva requiring the closing of the newspaper (in one package with Narodnaja Vola). Yet finally, the authorities retreated from the closing attempt.
Nasha Niva now stably ranks 5th —6th both by the number of views and the number of average daily readers in the overall rating of Belarusian media.
The major independent newspaper that is entirely in Belarusian, it is an important symbol of the national identity and an independent tradition.
As a century ago, Nasha Niva remains a voice of independent society.