During a forum for the Eastern Partnership in Poznan, Poland, the Belarusian civil society will be represented by 24 organizations. None of the dozens of Belarusian pro-governmental groups, sponsored and managed by the Belarusian authorities, was invited to participate.
The co-chairman of the forum committee, Udzislav Vialichka, informed that the selection of groups invited to participate in the forum was based on three lists with NGOs. – The first list was submitted by the national platform, the second – by the coordinators of working groups from each of the six countries, and the third – by the European Commission. This is how the group representing Belarus was selected. – said Vialichka.
Among those who applied, were the regime-sanctioned Belarusian Federation of Journalists (BFJ), Belarusian Federation of Writers, and the Federation of the Labor Unions. All of them were declined an invitation. According to Tatiana Vaytsiakhovskoy, an honorary member of the Belarusian Federation of Journalists, it is impossible for BFJ and the independent Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) to work together. – There is too many differences between us, with have completely different worldviews. We [Lunietskaya Naviny newspaper] are state newspaper and I’m honored to say that. There is no such thing as independent press. Every publication has its host, our – is the state. BAJ, has a whole different host. – she said.
On the list of organizations that represent Belarus during a forum of „Eastern Partnership“ there is Belarusian Association of Journalists, Center for Social Innovations, Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, Minsk Association for Entrepreneurs and Employers, Belarusian Democratic Congress for Labor Unions, and other social groups.