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Swedish Space Corporation in Row over Belarus

Published tisdag 16 maj 2006 kl 13.42

A partly state owned Swedish satellite TV company, SES Sirius, is presently negotiating with Belarus about broadcasting state owned television via satellite to the rest of Europe.

The Swedish company SES Sirius is owned to 25 percent by the Swedish state, through the Swedish Space Corporation. SES Sirius has two satellites used by mostly Nordic and Central and Eastern European countries to broadcast television. SES Sirius now hopes to enlarge their network by including two Belarus channels.

Belarusian state owned television has been criticized for being used by Belarus President Lukashenka to spread party propaganda.

The EU and Sweden officially regard Belarus as a non democratic country, and further the EU has decided to not grant a visa to President Lukashenka.

Neighbouring country Lithuania forbade Belarusian broadcasting earlier this year with the argument that it was spreading misinformation.

A representative of SES Sirius claims that they never take responsibility for what is broadcast on channels using the satellites, but that each channel should follow local regulations of the country they are based in.

The Swedish representative of the EU’s special delegation for relations with Belarus, Swedish moderate Christofer Fjellner, says he thinks “it is insane that a Swedish company will help spread propaganda from Belarus”.

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