Poland’s left-liberal government slashes spending on TV Belsat and fires its founder

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Following a decision by the foreign ministry to cut funding for Belsat TV by 47 percent, Poland’s government-controlled TVP has dismissed Agnieszka Romaszewska, the head of the channel.

Romaszewska revealed on her social media account that she had declined a financially attractive offer to go quietly and chose to protest against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ decision to slash spending on TV Belsat. After she took her stance, she was dismissed by TVP’s liquidator.

The founder and now former director of Belsat has claimed that the government is planning to partition the channel, as the Russian broadcasts are to be handled by the current English language channel TVP World in the future. She said she believes that this is a great mistake, as it turns upside down the service that has been developed over a number of years. 

“Belsat made sense and served Poland as a channel oriented towards the east in the current difficult and dangerous international situation. It was not meant to be some kind of lesser and poorer relation of Deutsche Welle,” wrote Romaszewska on her Facebook account. 

She added that “the wrecking of such a unique and sole TVP channel that had been formed (…) to help Belarus” was a serious error, as it had helped Poland project soft power in the east. 

Romaszewska noted that some of Belsat’s associates had been imprisoned by the Lukashenko government, and TVP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are thus letting such people down. 

In an interview for portal Dorzeczy.pl, Romaszewska argued that TV Belsat was not just for Belarus. It was actually a multimedia service that also had outreach to other parts of the former Soviet Union.

TV Belsat is part of TVP but is a channel that has been around for 18 years, funded largely by Polish government funds. It has been a source of news for Belarusians transmitted in their language and is wholly independent of the Lukashenko regime in Minsk. It was important in relaying the events during the protests that followed the rigged presidential election that led to mass protests in Belarus in 2020.  

TVP as a whole is in the process of liquidation, a measure taken by the government in order to legalize its takeover of public media, once it became clear that no court would register the new management that had been appointed in violation of Polish public media law. 

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