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January 16, 2003

Most respected Mr. President,

We are concerned about developments in the Republic of Belarus concerning Russian media. Broadcasts of Mayak (Ed. "Beacon"), Yunost (Ed. "Youth"), and Golos Rossii (Ed. "Voice of Russia") that have for many years constituted a key source of information for the citizens of Belarus, have been closed.

The Belarus authorities have not concealed their intent to reduce broadcasting time for the "Rossiya" (Ed. "Russia") television channel which will lead to a manifold drop in its audience in the country. Other plans include the creation on the basis of "Rossiya" and "Kultura" (Ed. "Culture") Russian television channels of so-called joint broadcasting organisations which, as has already been demonstrated by the ORT channel in Russia, will lead to censorship by the Belarussian authorities of the broadcasting policies of Russian media corporations.

The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO and Belarussian Public Association "Yabloko" consider the preservation of a single information space as one of the key factors for cooperation and integration.

We ask you, Mr. President, to help preserve the broadcasting of Russian state television channels in Belarus on the same level as for the citizens of Russia. As we understand, this will meet the interests of both states.

Moscow - Minsk

January 16, 2003

Chairman of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, head of the YABLOKO faction of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

Grigory Yavlinsky

Chairperson of the Belarussian Public Association "Yabloko", deputy of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Belarus Republic

Olga Abramova

See also:

Freedom of Speech and media law in Russia

Relations with Belarus

YABLOKO Sister-Parties

January 16, 2003

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