Polish public television launches Belarus channel
Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Polish public television launched a new channel aimed at Belarus yesterday that it says will broadcast independent news and other programming targeting its eastern neighbour. Poland, European Union’s largest ex-communist member, and western countries accuse Belarus of systematically cracking down on the opposition and silencing independent media in favour of state-controlled outlets which back President Aleksander Lukashenko.

Poland, which funds the new Warsaw-based Belsat TV channel, has often been at odds with its eastern neighbour since Lukashenko came took power in 1994. The new channel, which Polish television created with input from Belarus dissidents, will be accessible to those Belarussians with access to a satellite receiver, about a tenth of the population.

“We plan to give Belarussians different news than the government channels - more truthful and independent,” said Aleksai Dzikavicki, who will run Belsat’s news operations. Dzikavicki said Belsat will employ “a couple of dozen” journalists in Belarus, but declined to provide further details because he feared for their safety. Programmes will also be produced in Poland and Lithuania.

Belsat will start broadcasting for three hours in the evening, but aims to ultimately be live for 16 hours daily.

(Source: Reuters)

Tuning information

* Satellite: Astra 19.2°E
* Freq/Pol: 10773H
* SR: 22000
* FEC: 5/6

Belsat website