• Actual
  • Law and the media
  • Helpful
  • Work areas and campaigns
  • Reviews and monitoring
  • Belsat TV faces uncertainty: Will promised ‘new opportunities’ deliver?

    The reform of TVP World, which cur­ren­ly includes the Bel­sat TV chan­nel, has been announced. Experts have indi­cat­ed that the changes will result in the loss of much of the auton­o­my cur­rent­ly enjoyed by Bel­sat TV and a reduc­tion in its scope. The channel’s act­ing direc­tor, Ali­ak­sei Dzikav­it­s­ki, declined to com­ment.

    Reaction: Promised opportunities will turn into big problems

    A for­mer employ­ee of the chan­nel, Zmitser Yaho­rau, com­ment­ed on the plans of the Pol­ish For­eign Min­istry as fol­lows: “The new man­agers of Pol­ish Tele­vi­sion, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Pol­ish gov­ern­ment (in par­tic­u­lar the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs), with this “sig­nif­i­cant reform of for­eign edi­to­r­i­al offices”, will elim­i­nate, if not the chan­nel as a whole, but cer­tain­ly Belsat’s auton­o­my.”

    “Until now, Bel­sat has exist­ed as a fair­ly autonomous unit with­in pub­lic tele­vi­sion. No one from above told it how to broad­cast, what to cov­er, when, and to what extent. Now Bel­sat is to be inte­grat­ed into the Cen­ter for For­eign Pro­gram Broad­cast­ing (Ośrodek Pro­gramów dla Zagrani­cy), which has not yet been cre­at­ed,” the jour­nal­ist said.

    The jour­nal­ist took a hard look at the new pos­si­bil­i­ties offered to the “new Bel­sat”:

    “Some pro­grams, part of the news shows and cor­re­spon­dent net­work, will under­go sig­nif­i­cant cuts. There will be less orig­i­nal con­tent, and the SMM team will be reduced in size. The ‘reform’ will lead to a sit­u­a­tion where many employ­ees will no longer be need­ed.”

    External perspective: Safeguarding Belsat’s independence is crucial

    In a recent Insta­gram post, Svi­at­lana Tsikhanouskaya reit­er­at­ed the impor­tance of main­tain­ing the inde­pen­dence of Bel­sat.

    “Bel­sat must remain oper­a­tional. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant now, as the regime is engaged in a war with our peo­ple and our neigh­bors. Bel­sat serves as a valu­able tool in the fight against pro­pa­gan­da and is an essen­tial chan­nel of com­mu­ni­ca­tion between Belaru­sians inside the coun­try and those in exile. Any efforts to weak­en Bel­sat would be a gift to Putin and Lukashen­ka…”

    Pavel Latush­ka, head of the People’s Anti-Cri­sis Man­age­ment, said that it is strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant to pre­serve the inde­pen­dence of the TV chan­nel:

    “Bel­sat is the only inde­pen­dent TV chan­nel in Belarus, broad­cast­ing in our native Belaru­sian lan­guage. In light of the Lukashen­ka regime’s efforts, aid­ed by Rus­sia, to wage a hybrid infor­ma­tion war against Belaru­sian soci­ety, it is strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant for us to main­tain the inde­pen­dence of the Bel­sat TV chan­nel. The chan­nel plays an impor­tant role in shap­ing the iden­ti­ty of the Belaru­sian peo­ple, pro­vid­ing them with accu­rate and impar­tial infor­ma­tion.”

    But why discuss Belsat again?

    On July 4, the head of TVP World, Michał Bro­ni­a­tows­ki, announced a draft TV reform. Among oth­er things, it affects Bel­sat.

    “Bel­sat will not be liq­ui­dat­ed. Instead, a new struc­ture will be imple­ment­ed. I want to empha­size that Bel­sat will not dis­ap­pear. Instead, it will acquire new oppor­tu­ni­ties,” assured the head of TVP World. “The changes will be unveiled on 1 March 2025. A new name will be revealed at the same time as the pre­sen­ta­tion of the new struc­ture. The TVP will no longer be includ­ed in the name, but the word ‘Poland’ will be present. The search for a new name is already under­way.”

    «Белсат» новы ньюсрум

    The new old edi­tion of Bel­sat TV. Pho­to cred­it: Ali­ak­sei Dzikavitski’s Face­book page

    What is Belsat’s place in the new TVP structure?

    Cre­at­ing a Cen­ter for For­eign Pro­gram Broad­cast­ing is planned, which will unite all for­eign lan­guage broad­casts under one umbrel­la: TVP World, Bel­sat, and all its branch­es; TVP Polo­nia and TVP Vil­nius will remain inde­pen­dent. The cen­ter will be man­aged by TVP World.

    Bel­sat will become one of the divi­sions of the new struc­ture. In addi­tion to Bel­sat and the Russ­ian-lan­guage Vot Tak, there will be a Ukrain­ian edi­to­r­i­al office, which will com­mence oper­a­tions on 1 March 2025. Each news­room will receive six hours of broad­cast­ing per day.

    How­ev­er, each tele­vi­sion com­pa­ny will oper­ate inde­pen­dent­ly, with its bud­get and auton­o­my.

    Since mid-August, the Office for Pub­lic and Cul­tur­al Diplo­ma­cy of the Pol­ish Min­istry of For­eign Affairs will become a sep­a­rate depart­ment. It will “work very close­ly with TVP” and “respond to hybrid threats and dis­in­for­ma­tion attacks,” accord­ing to the head of the depart­ment, Katarzy­na Taran, as report­ed by Bel­sat.

    When did the problems start?

    In March 2024, Bel­sat Direc­tor Agniesz­ka Romaszews­ka-Guzy, who had been run­ning the chan­nel for 18 years, resigned.

    Ali­ak­sei Dzikav­it­s­ki was appoint­ed act­ing direc­tor of the chan­nel. Imme­di­ate­ly after his appoint­ment, the new direc­tor dis­cussed the channel’s plans.

    Ali­ak­sei Dzikav­it­s­ki, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Bel­sat, answers jour­nal­ists’ ques­tions dur­ing a press con­fer­ence. 20 March 2024, War­saw, Poland. Pho­to: Tat­siana Verameyeva/Belsat

    On March 13, the spokesman for the Pol­ish Min­istry of For­eign Affairs, Paweł Wrońs­ki, denied the infor­ma­tion about the reduc­tion of fund­ing for Bel­sat.

    In the mean­time, on May 27, due to finan­cial uncer­tain­ty, Bel­sat moved to a new loca­tion – back to the place where it all began.

    The most important news and materials in our Telegram channel — subscribe!
    Most read
    Every day send to your mailbox: actual offers (grants, vacancies, competitions, scholarships), announcements of events (lectures, performances, presentations, press conferences) and good content.


    * indicates required

    By subscribing to the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy