‘Autoradio’ gets warned for joint project with European Radio for Belarus
On 30 September 2009 the management of Autoradio FM-radio station from Minsk received an official warning from the Ministry of Information for ‘non-fulfillment of creative concept of broadcasting’.
Although the text of the warning contains no reference to any particular violation, it can be linked to the EuroZoom radio program that was broadcasted daily by Autoradio. The program is a joint project by Autoradio and European Radio for Belarus (ERB), held under the patronage of the European Commission. The daily 1-hour radio program is prepared by journalists of ERB, it contains several news and music blocks, The EuroZoom was launched at Autoradio this summer, and it was broadcasted every working day.
According to Yury Bazan, the General Manager of Autoradio, on 29 September the radio station received a phone call from the Ministry of Information with a request to present an audio file of EuroZoom for ‘monitoring’. The following day the station was officially warned. The Ministry suggests the radio station ‘make steps to keep to the creative concept of its broadcasting’. Otherwise its license can be cancelled.
Yury Bazan says that it is impossible to judge from the text of the warning which program the Ministry of Information actually meant. That is why he sent a letter to the ministry with a request to clarify the essence of the warning. Besides, another letter is sent to the Minister of Information with a request to approve broadcasting of EuroZoom program by Autoradio.
‘Broadcasting of the program helps to improve the image of Belarus in Europe and in the world. The European Commission values the possibility of broadcasting of the program in our country’, the appeal to the minister goes.
Yury Bazan also enclosed a written approval of the concept and contents of EuroZoom program by the head of the EC Delegation to Belarus, Mr. Jean-Eric Holzapfel.
The General Manager of Autoradio says he is a bit surprised to receive such a warning as information in EuroZoom is neutral and objective. Still, the program is not broadcasted by Autoradio since 1 October until clarifications from the Ministry of Information are received.
Andrei Bastunets, vice chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, regards this incident as ‘unacceptable interference of the state in the media activity’.
‘The concept of the program was approved by the European Commission. The warning of the Ministry of Information is some kind of an answer of Belarus to a suggestion for cooperation of the European Union’, Andrei Bastunets says.