Belsat TV celebrates third anniversary
December 11th, 2010 - 16:10 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Polish funded Belsat TV - which aims to provide an alternative to Belarusian state censored media - is celebrating its third anniversary of broadcasting. Launched on World Human Rights Day the station , broadcast in both Belarusian and Russian languages, airs news and information on developments in Belarus and the European community, history related features, films and documentaries and entertainment programs.

In 2006, one of the major Belarusian opposition activists Alexander Milinkevich convinced Polish authorities of the need for such a station in his country. President Aleksander Lukashenko has called the TV channel “stupid and uncongenial” and a western propaganda vehicle.

Belsat has not been granted an official broadcasting licence in Belarus, since its content has not been approved by the regime’s foreign ministry. Consequentially, journalists working for the station are deprived of accreditation and are frequently subjected to various forms of repression. Belsat programmes are aired from Warsaw, though large parts of it are prepared by a staff of some 100 journalists working in 10 major cities throughout Belarus.

In June this year the station doubled its air time from 6 to 12 hours daily. Additionally, as of November, it is available round the clock on weekends. Surveys have shown Belsat reaches an audience of close to 800,000 viewers in Belarus.