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EU Begins Radio Broadcasts into Belarus


The European Union has launched a new radio service into Belarus, where the opposition hopes to topple hardline President Alexander Lukashenko in an upcoming election.

The new service is staffed by Belarusian and Polish broadcasters. It beams news and music by shortwave from just across the Belarusian border in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The broadcasts include a daily hour-long series called "Window to Europe," and a series of election specials.

EU officials say the new radio station is not propaganda. But they say tight government controls on the media make it hard for Belarusians to find independent sources of information.

President Lukashenko is hoping to win a third term in the March 19 election. He accuses the West of interfering in Belarusian affairs.

The United States has called Mr. Lukashenko Europe's last dictator because of his suppression of human rights and free speech.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.