Aug 24 2005

EU to support "independent broadcasting" in Belarus


Brussels, Aug 24, IRNA

The European Commission, the EU's executive, announced Wednesday that it has granted a 138.000 euro contract to the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle to broadcast via radio and Internet into Belarus to increase awareness of democracy and human rights.

''We are extremely worried about the lack of freedom of expression in Belarus. Over the past years independent media coverage in Belarus has met increasingly tight restrictions.''

''This initiative will bring independent international radio to he Belarussian population. It will increase their awareness of the deteriorating situation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in their country,'' said EU Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

The programs will be in an initial stage primarily in Russian, one of the state languages of Belarus, though content may also be rovided in Belarussian in the future, said a Commission statement.

Broadcasting will take place over 12 months from 1 November.

The Commission is the first donor to carry out this type of activity in support of human rights and freedom of expression in Belarus, it noted.