Free Belarussian media hope for more EU, US support

Funded by Poland, Belsat TV is one of a handful of independent Belarussian media beaming uncensored news into Belarus where the president Lukashenko keeps a stranglehold on the domestic media. Belsat TV programme director Sairhei Pelesa a is hoping that a fundraising conference Wednesday in Warsaw and dubbed "Solidarity with Belarus" will bring fresh support from the 27 EU states as well as the United States and others to expand free media activity in his homeland. The fundraising drive spearheaded by Poland comes on the heels of travel bans and asset freezes imposed Monday by the EU and US on Lukashenko and dozens of associates as punishment for his brutal 19 December crackdown against opposition figures protesting what they called his fraudulent re-election. Aside from Belsat, Poland also hosts and funds three Belarussian-language radio stations. Radio Svaboda is another such broadcaster, based in the Czech capital Prague and financed by the US through Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The tiny ex-Soviet Baltic state of Estonia has vowed to lend its IT expertise to help exiled Belarussians oppose Lukashenko's authoritarian regime in cyberspace. A Belarussian-language Internet TV website - - based in Estonia went online last year


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