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Belsat TV
Broadcast areaBelarus, Europe
SloganBelsat - we look to the East!
HeadquartersWarsaw, Poland
Picture format16:9 576i (SDTV)
OwnerTelewizja Polska
Key peopleAgnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, Aleksy Dzikawicki, Beata Krasicka, Waldemar Domański
Launched10 December 2007; 16 years ago (2007-12-10)
Former namesTelewizja Białoruś
VectraChannel 817
Astra 4A12303 H / 25546 / 7/8 (SD / FTA)
Streaming media
belsat.euWatch live

Belsat (Belarusian: Белсат; Polish: Biełsat) is a Polish television channel for people in Belarus. It is a branch of the broadcasting organization Telewizja Polska.[1]

Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy is the head of Belsat.[2] Intellectual property of Belsat is made by mostly Belarusian journalists. Journalists also work for Belsat in Belarus.

On April 26, 2007, Alexander Lukashenko said that the channel is bad.[3] The government of Belarus has been making troubles for Belsat all the time and does not not give the channel an approval. Belsat's journalists have gotten many punishments for work. In March 2008, for example, many Belsat journalists were arrested and technical things were taken away.[4] To 2017, they have spent a number of 125 days in detention and been fined $94,296 US, simply for doing their work.

In 2017, the channel's Minsk house was searched and computers from there were taken away.[5] The same year, Belsat TV got a veto by a Minsk court on using its trademark.[6] Since then, Belsat's journalists have used other trademark that has letters from the channel's name – the Cyrillic “BLS” (БЛС) and “tv”. The most recent search of Belsat's Minsk house was done in 2019.

It has been writing about the 2020 Belarusian protests and 2020 Belarusian presidential election, so many journalists of Belsat have been tried and arrested for that. In 2020 Belsat journalists were detained 162 times, while their things were taken away very often.[7] 26 journalists were arrested, out of which six journalists were arrested two times, and one journalist was arrested three times, giving 34 arrests. They had been sentenced to a number of 392 days in prison. Seven of arrested journalists were beaten by the police. Seven journalist following detention were taken to hospitals. During the crackdown on the protests of August 9–12, Belsat's journalists were putting their lives on the line, and two of them were injured. Belsat's journalists got fines in $26 353,44 for their work in Belarus in 2020.

In February 2021, Katsyaryna Andreeva and Darya Chultsova of Belsat were sentenced to two years in prison by a court in Minsk for informing on anti-government protests held around the house where Raman Bandarenka was beaten to death in November 2020.[8][9][10]

The site of Belsat can't be opened in Belarus since August 2020.[11][12] Since May 2021, the government stops attempts to open the main website of Belsat mirror as well.[13]

In July 2021, Belsat's content was declared extremist, meaning distributing it can be punished by a 30-days jail. On November 3, 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs declared Belsat an extremist group.[14] Creation of an extremist group or participation in it is a criminal offence in Belarus.[15]

In January 2023, Daria Losik, the wife of Ihar Losik, was sentenced to two years in prison for an interview with the channel under a criminal article on promoting extremist activity.[16] In the fall of 2022, a criminal case for an interview with the channel was opened against Natalya Suslova, the mother of Belarusian volunteer Pavel “Volat” Suslov, who was killed in action in Ukraine.[17]

References[change | change source]

  1. Iwaniuk, Jakub (2017-01-30). "La télévision Bielsat s'inquiète pour son avenir" (in French). Le Monde. p. 8. Archived from the original on 2021-03-16. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  2. Astapenia, Ryhor (2012-11-29). "Belsat TV Struggles to Survive". BelarusDigest. Archived from the original on 2020-06-19. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  3. "Лукашенко: Независимый телеканал - "глупый, бестолковый и недружественный" проект" (in Russian). TUT.BY. 2007-04-26. Archived from the original on 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  4. "Weißrussland: Sendeschluss für freie Radios" (in German). FM4. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  5. "Belarus Police Confiscate Equipment Of Independent TV Channel". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  6. Rom, Anna; Ash • (2017-06-15). "What's Going On in Belarus?". Fair Observer. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  7. S.A, Telewizja Polska. "Trial of Belarusian journalists underway". Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  8. "Two Belarusian journalists sentenced to two years in prison for doing their job". European Federation of Journalists. 2021-02-18. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  9. Mary, Ilyushina (2021-02-18). "Two journalists, 23 and 27, get two years in jail for live-streaming a protest in Belarus". CNN. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  10. Agencies, Minsk (2021-02-18). "Belarus jails two journalists who covered Lukashenko protest". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  11. Штейн, Евгения (2020-08-29). "В Беларуси заблокировали «Нашу Нiву» и, журналистов иностранных СМИ лишают аккредитации" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2020-09-29. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  12. "В Белоруссии заблокировали несколько десятков информационных сайтов. Среди них — "Радио Свобода" и "Медиазона"" [Several Dozen of Independent Media Websites Blocked in Belarus, Including Radio Freedom and Mediazone] (in Russian). Meduza. 2020-08-22. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  13. "Мининформ заблокировал сайт телеканала «Белсат»" (in Russian). MediaZona. 2021-05-07. Archived from the original on 2021-05-08. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  14. "Belarus declares Poland-based Belsat news channel an 'extremist' organisation". Reuters. 3 November 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  15. "BAJ demands to stop using anti-extremist legislation to restrict freedom of speech". Belarusian Association of Journalists. 17 November 2021. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  16. "В Беларуси суд приговорил к двум годам колонии Дарью Лосик". Current Time TV (in Russian). 2023-01-19. Retrieved 2023-03-24.
  17. "В Беларуси против матери погибшего в Украине белорусского добровольца завели уголовное дело". Current Time TV (in Russian). 2022-11-25. Retrieved 2023-03-24.