In the course of an online conference held by the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Alyaksei Minchonak, the official representative of Belsat in Belarus answered questions set by Internet users. Belsat.eu publishes the representative’s answers to a number of them.
“If it was not for the wave of solidarity, we would be sitting here with sad faces. The Polish government took into account how many letters of support were sent. Therefore, I would like to express our gratitude. Thanks to Pavel Sevyarynets for holding a solidarity near the presidential administration, to BAJ and all people who supported us,” Alyaksei Minchonak said.
Will any shows be taken off the air?
No program will disapear, no one will be fired. But we are permanently changing. If someone does not like [any program], it is a matter of taste.
What way is Belsat TV budget administrated? If such a report is not publicly available, please tell us what things are the most costly?
The best part of money goes to pay our employees. 80% of the budgets are payments to, say, scene-designers, make-up artists, reporters. Television is a lot of people! And those who believe that three people can enable running of a TV station are wrong.
What is the use of Belsat TV further broadcasting in Belarus? Will you continue to drive a wedge between Belarus and Russia? What is yourassessment of news stories about the so-called Kremlin plan to replace Lukashenka which Belsat TV aired without any proof?
Our mission is informing people about what is happening. Other media outlets also provided information about the above ‘secret plan’. And we inform people, so do other media.
Perhaps, it is high time you revised the program policy and abandoned uninteresting shows?
We have launched Belsat Music Live. Soon there will be a new and interesting project a talk show. Stay tuned!
What are the top 5 or top 10 achievents Belsat has made over its nine-year history?
1. Belarusians have their own TV
2. Belsat TV is also a school of TV Journalism
3. Breaking the information blockade
4. Informing Belarusians of the threats of the ‘Russian world’
5. ‘Narodny Albom’
Has Belsat TV team ever thought about privatizing the channel and run it themselves, without TVP (Polish Public Television)?
This makes no sense. Belsat TV works and survives due to the fact that we are in TVP system. If we leave TVP, we will lose much.
When will Belsat TV journalists have social protection?
If one takes a job at Belsat TV, they’d rather not count on a fitness card or lunches for free. Of course, we support our journalists who land in trouble. We so protect our people.
How many ‘Belsat couples’ are there?
As in any big team, there are many of them. We even have ‘Belsat TV children’.
In mid-December, Belsat TV Director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy told portal Wpolityce.pl with reference to unofficial information that the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs intended to reduce financing Belsat TV by 2/3 and stop its broadcast in the Belarusian language. On a practical level, such changes would mean the closure of Belsat, the only independent Belarusian-language TV channel, which has become a permanent support of public opinion and national identity of Belarusians.
On December 18, Witold Wazczykowski voiced the ministry’s plans of Belsat TV transition to a web mode and its journalists’ transfer to TVP Polonia.
Ambiguous information on the closure of the channel caused a massive public outcry and garnered media coverage in Belarus and Poland. Belsat TV Director granted a number of interviews to Polish media outlets, in which she explained why the liquidation of the TV station would be inappropriate and unwise.
On January 5, Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy met with Poland’s Prime Minister and said that Beata Szydło assured her that there was no threat to Belsat TV.