Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya held a meeting with the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) CEO Kelu Chao. This agency coordinates the work of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, including Current Time TV.
During the meeting, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya:
– spoke about the regime’s crackdown on independent media in Belarus as an attempt to create an information vacuum in the country. Right now, journalists of TUT.by, Nasha Niva, Belsat, Tribuna.com, and other media are in prison, searches have taken place in the offices of Hrodna Life, Intex-Press, Regional Newspaper, Media-Palesse, and dozens of other regional media. Many media outlets have their websites and accounts blocked;
– noted that the office of the Belarusian service Radio Svaboda – one of the largest free media in Belarus – was destroyed by security forces, and stated that she is doing everything possible to release journalists, including employees of Svaboda Aleh Hruzdilovich, Aliaksandr Dashchynski, and Inessa Studzinskaya.
– called to provide aid for Belarusian journalists, including technical equipment, expanding staff, relocation. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also raised the issue during the meetings with US Secretary of State Blinken and other politicians;
– discussed with USAGM CEO ways to circumvent blocking and censorship. The agency supports such projects as Signal, Psiphon, and services allowing to create protected mirrors of websites.
– proposed to relaunch Belarusians service of Voice of America, which will be a powerful signal to Belarusians from the US and will create an additional source of information about how other countries support Belarus — in response to the regime’s propaganda;
– called for launching a special USAGM to support news media, media influencers, and small initiatives covering events in Belarus.