Dep Foreign Minister: Poland's TV channel for Belarus will get EUR 4.8 mln in 2018

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marek Magierowski said on Tuesday that PLN 20 million (EUR 4.8 million) has been earmarked in the 2018 budget for Belsat TV, Poland's public television channel aimed at Belarus.

In 2017, the Foreign Ministry cut funds for the channel, from PLN 17 million (EUR 4.1 million) to PLN 5.6 million (EUR 1.4 million), and cancelled an agreement which assured annual funding for Belsat TV. The channel's director, Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, warned at the time that Belsat TV was in danger of being closed.

Speaking before the Sejm (lower house)'s Foreign Affairs Committee - which had earlier called on the Foreign Ministry to increase development aid - Magierowski thanked lawmakers for their "interest and support" as the Foreign Ministry sought to secure greater funds for development assistance.

The official noted that securing an additional PLN 63 million (EUR 15.2 million) - as lawmakers had stipulated - turned out not to be possible, but the 2018 budget still "envisages a total of PLN 137 million (EUR 33 million), including, which is incredibly significant, PLN 20 million (EUR 4.8 million) for Belsat TV."

Magierowski emphasised the channel was "very important for our interests beyond the eastern border," and so despite "numerous controversies" the sum of PLN 20 million "has been secured."

"The Ministry remains in constant contact with director Romaszewska and we have already spoken about working further together in this regard," he added.

Part of Poland's public broadcasting corporation, TVP, Belsat TV provides entertainment and news in Belarusian and Russian. Through quality programming, it aims to offer an alternative to the "propagandist" content of Belarusian state-run television.