On Monday morning, several hundred employees and picketers have gathered in front of the office of the Belarusian State and Radio Company (BT) in Minsk. A number of people working for state-run TV stations ONT and CTV are also on strike.
The protesters demand their companies, in particular, information programming departments, start providing Belarusians with unbiased and reliable information about the current developments in the country. Most of them they cannot remain indifferent after reports about OMON riot police’s beating and torturing people over the past week’s protesting.
“They promised us alternative points of view would be aired on Sunday, but in vain,” a BT employee said.
According to him, main state-run TV channels should have covered Sunday’s march for freedom in Minsk and other cities.
“This is the last straw. We cannot support this Nazi-like rule. One can quit, but we should try and insist on getting our own way,” a woman told Belsat.
BT director Ivan Eysmant has not come out to talk to the staff yet. Earlier, his assistant said Eysmant was ready to meet with subordinates, but inside the building. Later, some cameramen agreed to negotiate with him, but the CEO’s position was clear – if someone wants to continue cooperating with BT, they must meet the conditions set by the employer.
“My pass cars might not be valid anymore, let him go out and see us,” a BT news journalist stressed.
“There are lots of us, and he is alone,” a BT employee said.
“I am a former employee, I was responsible for the programme Good Morning Belarus. I left voluntarily and asked to suspend the show. When our children are being tortured, how can we tell our viewers about how to make an omelette?”another BT employee wondered.
A female media worker added they just wanted to fairly do their job and not to be involved in ‘the Goebbels-style propaganda’.