The U.S. president signed the “Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act”. It sets the main priorities of U.S. policy towards Belarus. One of them is the support for the electronic media in the Belarusian language – including television Belsat.
Signed act amends “Belarus Democracy Act” of 2004 – the document setting out the priorities which should guide the U.S. authorities in supporting the democratization process in Belarus. The new document was initiated by Christopher Smith – Republican Congressman from New Jersey. The initiative has bipartisan character as there were six Republican and five Democratic congressmen who were coauthors of the amendment.
The document stated: „It is the sense of Congress that the President should support radio, television, and Internet broadcasting to the people of Belarus in languages spoken in Belarus, by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, European Radio for Belarus, and Belsat.”.
Senator Christopher Smith wrote on his web-site that the bill aims ” to support people struggling for basic rights against Alexander Lukashenka—the man often called Europe’s last dictator.”
The document also expands the list of Belarusian officials who may be subject to financial and visa sanctions. These are mainly persons participating in the breaking down of the opposition movement after the presidential elections 19 December 2010 r.
USA also calls on the International Ice Hockey Federation “to suspend its plan to hold the 2014 International World Ice Hockey championship in Minsk, Belarus – a major sporting event which the Belarusian government plans to use to legitimize its unjust rule, just as the Chinese Communist Party used the 2008 Olympics.”
The new law is the result of pressure of the lobby in the U.S. Congress, dealing with issues of democracy in Eastern Europe. As pointed out by Tomasz Pisula, President of the Foundation for Freedom and Democracy for years cooperating with the Americans in projects supporting the Belarusian opposition – “a group supporting democratization in the former Soviet Union states is formed of not only the politicians, with Eastern European origin or having in their constituencies Belarusian community, but also a large group of senators of Cuban origin – who recognized the need to show solidarity with the nations located in the same position as the Cuban nation.”
Tomasz Pisula also announced that enter the body of the document Belsat took place with the active operation of the Polish ambassador in the U.S. Robert Kupiecki.