On February 21, 2013 MEPs had a meeting with the representatives of Belarusian civil society in Brussels. Discussing the issue of the only independent Belarusian channel was a particular item on the agenda.
“The European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Belarus expresses its support for the activity of the independent television channel Belsat, which since its creation provides Belarusians with an access to reliable information and promotes basic human rights and European values. The unprecedented growth of Belsat’s audiences, currently amounting to close to one million people, clearly demonstrates the channel’s impact and its future potential.
The Delegation recognises the activity of Belsat TV as crucial for the development of civil society in Belarus. Given the fact that without sufficient assistance the broadcasting of independent programmes for Belarusian society would not be possible, the EP Delegation for Relations with Belarus expresses its strong support to any application of Belsat for EU funds,” its final statement says.
Belsat might well be supported by the government of Poland, the governments of Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and the Nordic Council of Ministers, but the European Union has not ever made any financial contributions.
According to Polish MEP Marek Migalski, the EU should lend assistance to Belsat because the promotion of human rights and democratic values along with provoding Belarusians with the access to unbiased information are the key priorities.
“Today the European Parliament Delegation has adopted the statement on bringing support to Belsat TV and called on the European Commission to back the initiative. In my opinion, European institutions are still not fully realize why “conveying a message” to society poses a problem. Information is like blood circulation, like blood that should circulate in any organism otherwise it dies. It is of crucial importance that the Delegation has drawn the attention of the EU’s executives to it, I believe. I hope it brings some beneficial effects to all of us,” Belsat TV Director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy said.
Taking into account negative effects of the current regime, no renewal is possible without the development of independent mass media, MEPs concluded. As Belsat remains the only TV channel delivering uncensored information in Belarusians’ mother tongue it holds a specific place among Belarusian free media.