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EU to Launch Independent News Broadcasts to Belarus


The European Union has announced plans for creating a media consortium to broadcast independent news to Belarus.

The European Commission says the German-led consortium will begin operations next month ahead of the March 19 presidential elections in Belarus. The grouping includes media organizations from Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Russia, as well as Belarusian journalists and non-governmental organizations.

Radio and television broadcasts will be in Belarusian and Russian, and the project is set to last for two years.

Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says his nation's state-controlled media are preparing to battle anti-government propaganda.

Mr. Lukashenko Thursday said radio and television reporters of the national broadcasting system are ready to launch what he called "a counter-propaganda offensive."

The West is critical of the authoritarian president, accusing him of suppressing democracy, stifling freedom and restricting dissent and journalistic independence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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