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Administration of RTVI Channel: We Were Disconnected in Belarus for Political Reasons

2006 2006-03-17T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to RFE/RL

Several days ago the Belarusian cable TV operator of Cosmos-TV stopped the broadcasting of the international Russian TV channel RTVI on the territory of Belarus because of ‘technical problems’. Since the end of February every Sunday this channel showed programs about Belarus.

The chair of the RTVI Mikhail Borshchevskiy said that in a private talk the Belarusian side explained that the channel was disconnected for political reasons. ‘Yesterday we got a telephone call from the largest TV operator with whom we cooperate in Belarus. They said the authorities strictly ordered to disconnect the channel during the electoral period. The matter is that the operators have contractual obligations and can’t disconnect a channel permanently for the fear of large financial losses that can lead to bankruptcy, because there is a large number of spectators of our channel in Belarus’, said Mikhail Borshchevskiy.

He also said that the reason for such nervous reaction of the Belarusian authorities could be the program that was shown last weekend and was to have been repeated on 16 March. However, to Barshcheuski’s mind, the program didn’t contain anything insulting for the authorities.

’Last Sunday we showed a program dedicated to the elections in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. It was normal and objective. Before this we contacted the Belarusian Embassy in Moscow. We proposed to show any programs they would give. We also said we could take an interview from the present president. They rejected all our proposals. That’s why we showed representatives of the electoral headquarters of oppositional headquarters, who gave very serious comments. There were no complaints from the side of Russia and Ukraine, but the Belarusian operator was told to turn us off’, stated Mr Borshchevskiy.

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