For a whole year our TV channel was in the heart of events that were of interest to Belarusians. We covered the protests, gave the floor to ordinary people, helped those who needed it, made interesting reports and stories. Every third Belarusian knows about us, 12% regularly watch us, and 80% trust our information.
In 2017 we did the following:
The outgoing year began with mass protests against the so-called “Decree on Social Parasitism”. From the very beginning, we were at the scene of events and conducted online reports on social networks and on our belsat.eu page. We let people speak on air. Hundreds of thousands of people across Belarus and abroad watched the protests.
The 47-year-old Alena Kukol from a village in the Hrodno region is rearing a disabled son and lives on childcare allowance. Local guardianship authorities threatened her with deprivation of parental rights if she had not improved her living conditions. In desperation, the woman decided to sell her kidney to replace the floor and the wiring in the house.
Ales Chobat, the author of a number of books, essays, short stories and chronicles, found himself in a difficult situation. After losing his sight, he was left alone in a century-old house and needed the simplest things, although he would never ask for help.
After belsat.eu story about Ales, a crowdfunding project appeared at the talaka.by to raise money for the writer.
As a result, 73 people supported the project, they collected 1,195 rubles instead of the planned 550. Hrodna volunteers donated money to the poet, bought necessaties for him: winter footwear, blankets, dishes, clothes, and socks.
Together with the Polish Institute in Minsk and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Belsat television channel contributed to the return of the cult musical project of the mid-1990s. The concert of “The People’s Album” was held on January 24, 2017. More than 27 songs of the album told the story of the West-Belarusian town in the interwar period.
In 2007, ‘The People’s Album’ was banned in Belarus. Ten years later, musicians from the ‘Apple Tea’ band joined Lyavon Volsky, Alyaksandr Pamidorau, Kasya Kamotskaya and others for the unforgettable performance.
In 2017, Belsat turned 10 years old. That’s what it took to build from scratch a modern, professional television that has influence. All these years, hundreds of people have worked and are working for the sake of the Belarusian-Polish media project. On December 10, most of the team gathered in Warsaw to discuss plans for the future and celebrate the anniversary.
All these years, Belarusian authorities were afraid of Belsat and hindered our work on the territory of Belarus. Despite repeated attempts, we have not been able to obtain accreditation in the country. Nevertheless, in November we launched a new season and continue to work and develop.
We made the film “The Road” to tell you how our television channel was born.
In 2017, Belsat TV launched new programs.
Belsat Music Life is a weekly music show. Modern musicians come to our studio, play live, and talk with the hosts – Mira Shultz and Syarhei Budkin about creativity and life.
“Villagers” is a rustic reality show where the host Wiktor Szukielowicz tells interesting stories about people from Belarusian villages, recounting the experience of village work and lifestyle. The program is released every Wednesday.
‘Report’ with Eduard Melnikau comes out twice a month. This is a respected analytical show about the problems that are urgent for Belarus, their intellectual and emotional effect. In the program, Belarus is viewed as a European country with a wide range of interests related to its neighbors and Europe as a whole.
The Belsat film crew went to the ATO zone in Ukraine and, together with the volunteers, brought with them books collected by the viewers of our television channel for the local library in the town of Marinka, Donetsk region.
Belarusian journalists received a very warm greeting in the Marinka library, and a special exhibition was made from the books brought.
In February 2017, in the “Odnoklassniki” social network “Belsat” published a demotivator, which became viral and received more than 180 thousand likes. The publication was seen by about 2.2 million users.
Later, Paval Sevyarynets brought subpoenas for “local parasitism” to the Administration of Lukashenka, together with the picture and evidence of the number of people supporting the message.
In the “I Have Right” program we talked about the rights of Belarusians and gave advice on what to do in critical situations.
An interesting case occurred in the village of Aharodniki in the Hrodna region, where a local resident built a water park and playground at his own expense. But the authorities considered it dangerous and demanded for it to be demolished. After the topic was covered by the reporters, officials visited the village. All this time the neighbors stood up for their fellow villager, and collected signatures. The water park remained, thanks, also, to the work of our journalists. Watch more about it here.
In 2017, the persecution of “Belsat” by the state increased. We paid 60 fines, our journalists were regularly imprisoned for 24 hours, threatened for their children to te taken away. Belsat offices were searched, our gear was seized, and it was never returned to us.
In the hot spring, when protests of non-parasites unfolded all over the country, journalists of our TV channel were prevented from reaching the scene of events, stopped on the road, detained and taken to precincts.
This is direct evidence that our activities are inconvenient to the official discourse and destroy the beautiful picture drawn by the authorities. Thus, we believe that we are doing everything right and will continue to defend freedom of speech and professional journalism.
Cooperation with the BBC helped us raise our professional level and provide high quality content to our viewers. Read more about this here.
We are waiting for your letters next year. We see every message, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, to social networks and via the mobile application.