On December 10, our channel marked its 11th anniversary. Year after year, our work is becoming more visible in Belarus. And it is not only about the viewers’ trust and audience growth, but also reactions to our journalists’ reports.
Over the past year, Belsat has contributed to a number of improvements in people’s lives: some of public officials heeded criticism and took notice of citizens’ complaints.
Belarusian Ales Sapeha, who is currently a resident of Switzerland, watched a report about a dire situation a villager found herself in and paid her debts.
In February, a sufficient number of Lithuanian lawmakers signed the impeachment initiative against MP Arturas Skardius, who is known as one of the most influential Russian lobbyists in the country’s Seimas. The politician is suspected of having close corrupt ties to Russia’s Gazprom and Belarus’ Belenergo.
According to the joint investigation of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Lithuanian news website 15min and Belsat TV journalist Stanislau Ivashkevich, Skardzius‘ wife co-owns a solar energy business in Belarus, together with Sergey Beliy, the former CEO of Belenergo, the Belarus state-owned energy company. In turn, the journalistic probe triggered a parliamentary investigation.
In October, Belsat investigative journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Ihar Ilyash reported about Belarus’ supplying Donbas separatists with automotive vehicles. Last year, the duo proved that our country was selling food products and alcoholic beverages to separatists. After the publications, Ukrainian diplomats handed a note of protest to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, and said that sanctions might be imposed on a number of Belarusian enterprises.
Belsat TV had an investigation into the activities of Belenergo. After our last year’s publications on mismanagement and nepotism in the state enterprise, it was subject to a large-scale state audit. Minister of Energy, the director of Belenergo and a number of the lower functionaries of this body lost their posts. But we continued our investigation and found that, despite the punishment of certain responsible persons, the schemes for making money out of our communal apartment payments continue, perhaps, with no less scope than before. And the damage from the scheme is even greater than we could imagine.
Belarusian MP Hanna Kanapatskaya reported on Facebook that she had appealed to the prosecutor general’s office to check the facts from our investigation and to take measures to eliminate violations and abuses by officials. In their reply to the lawmaker, the Prosecutor General’s office announced such a check.
Belsat often focuses on housing and communal issues. After airing a news story about an out-of-fix block of flats in Dokshytsy district, local services respected the feedback and started renovating.
In yet another case, Belsat intervention helped dwellers of Slonim municipal residential facilities defend rights: local officials, who had charged the rent for the same services twice, canceled the illegal charge and made recalculations.
Contributing to igh-profile public affairs is important, individuals often need support and assistance as well. Our reporter Volha Czajczyc helped a homeless Belarusian find a shelter, which might have saved his life.
For months, the Belarusian authorities were holding back on the decision on the case of Belarusian-born Sergei Gapon, who is now a citizen of Russia. In the spring of 2018 he was put into a detention centre in the town of Valozhyn as local officials were vague about his citizenship. After belsat.eu published an article about Sergei, the Russian embassy contacted Valozhyn policemen and xleared the issue. The man was released from prison.
And it is just part of what we have done in 2018. Thank you and stay tuned!