Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka is holding A Big Conversation With President on Friday. Answering the question by ERB journalist Zmitser Lukashuk, he has made mention of Belsat TV. More than 200 persons are participating in the ‘big’ event in Minsk. However, one can attend it only by invitation. Our channel made an application, but there is no answer.
“You [European Radio in Belarus] are registered in Poland. Why can one still come across the maps showing the Polish border near Minsk there? It is a rhetorical question. One should not be one-sided. Yes, probably, there is a problem with the East. But there are even more problems with the West. Russia does not deploy missiles near Moscow to have Belarus as their target. And why is Poland [doing so]?
What do we have there [in Poland], some Belsat? Does Poland have any channels [for Belarusians]?
I do not want war. I call our opposition ‘the so-called’, because it is not opposition, but there are some madmen. They think they will unleash a war and destabilize the situation. If I am elected President, I will not let [them do that]. I will be the first to throw you to the field of destabilization. You will not broadcast to the world from Poland saying that things are turning ugly in Belarus.”
Alyaksandr Lukashenka also blasted some Russian media outlets that are critical of his activity and work: “Of course, we are aware of their non-traditional orientation.”
“And if we [Belarus] create such websites and start mocking at you? I do not read them; moreover. I urge you not to read them. But still, [sometimes] I read, because people read, especially in Russia. We agreed [with Vladimir Putin] that we should not demonize each other.”
In the run up to the event, state-run news agency BelTA was challenging people to send their questions to the Belarusian leader promising that most of them would be answered. Not waiting for Friday, Belsat TV has learned what residents of Homiel would like to ask Lukashenka about:
Belsat TV started broadcasting on 10 December 2007. Then our team set a number of goals, i.e contributing to Europeanisation and democratization of Belarus; covering the news without exercising any censorship; broadcasting in the Belarusian language.Even before the beginning of our activity the authorities treated us as enemies, In March 2007, Alyaksandr Lukashenka called Belsat a ‘stupid, uncongenial and unfriendly project’.
Over the past two years, our contributors have got fines totalled to $83,000; most of them were imposed in Minsk and Homiel regions. In addition, the police and security services launch raids, prevent journalists from appearing at the scene, take them to police stations and then force to pay hefty fines.