Polish public broadcaster Telewizja Polska (www.tvp.pl) on Dec. 10 launched its first foreign station, Belsat, which offers three hours of news, cultural programs and entertainment programming daily by satellite in neighboring Belarus.
The channel received 16 million zloties (€4.5 million) from the Polish Foreign Ministry for its development, TVP said in a statement on its website. It will operate on a 27-million-zloty budget in 2008, 21 million zloties of which will be supplied by the state. The channel will begin 16 hours of programming daily in February.
TVP said the channel, the first of its kind in Europe, is a response to proposals by democratic movements in Belarus seeking an independent station for cultural programs and entertainment. The station also plans special programming such as a report on the Chernobyl disaster. TVP estimatesd more than 7% of Belarussian households own satellite dishes.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has committed financial support and talks are under way with Ireland, the United States, the Czech Republic and the European Union.