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Polish MFA Ends Contract with Belsat

01.02.2017 Source: Press service of BAJ

The Radio Svaboda reports that the Polish MFA has stopped financing Belsat TV.

“We are willing to discuss it with an experienced team of Belsat how to change the medium to enable it to find a proper donor and gain the prestige of an important medium of Belarusian communication. The earlier contract between MFA and TVP on the creation of Belsat TV has already been terminated,” wrote in Rzeczpospolita Marek Ziółkowski, Deputy Secretary on security and Eastern European policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his article, Marek Ziółkowski analyzes developments in diplomatic relations between Poland and Belarus and generally Poland’s activities to promote culture of its own and of its Eastern neighbor. The politician confirms that the Polish Government expects to agree upon retransmission of the Polish-language TVP Polonia channel in Belarus cable nets.

On January 25, in Warsaw Marek Ziółkowski met with the Belarusian Ambassador to Poland Aliaksandr Aviaryanau. Currently, a delegation from the Belarusian Parliament is visiting the Polish Parliament; the visit is to end on February 2.

The satellite channel Belsat stays within the Polish TVP. Since its launch in 2007, its cost comprised 157 million zloty (exchange rate ranging from 2 to 4 ZL for USD), which makes a third of all funds allocated by Poland to support democracy in Belarus, reports the Radio Svaboda.

First rumors of the “closure of Belsat TV” appeared unexpectedly in mid-December 2016 from the chief of Belsat Agnieszka Romaszewska. She said then that the essential cut down on the channel’s budget – by two thirds – would mean that the channel would not make it. The interview brought about a massive response from the audience. On January 5, Agnieszka Romaszewska wrote on her Facebook page that the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło had reassured the channel’s director that there was no threat to its existence. The channel’s destiny was supposed to be resolved within a month.

On January 1, the representative of Belsat in Belarus Aliaksei Minchonak replied to some questions in an online conference at BAJ. In particular, he told that the audience of Belsat TV was around 4% of the whole population, and there was probability that some programs would be further in Russian.

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