Twenty four Belarusian organizations will represent the country's civil society at Eastern Partnership forum in Poznan.
The list of participants from Belarus does not contain any pro-governmental organization. The Belarusian Union of Journalists, the Belarusian Union of Writers and the Trade Unions Federation are reported to have applied for participation in the forum, but their applications were rejected, Belsat TV says.
The co-head of the Steering Committee of the Forum, Uladzislau Vyalichka, explained how organizations were chosen. "A final decision concerning participants of the forum was taken on the ground of three recommendation lists. The first one was proposed by the National Platform, the second one was prepared by coordinators of working groups on all six participating countries and the third list was made by the European Commission. We chose participants on the basis of these lists. Most organizations selected were mentioned at least in two lists. The list of the National Platform, for example, included a large number of pro-governmental trade unions. They were not selected, because they were not recommended by coordinators of a relative working group and by the European Commission".
Tatsyana Vaitsekhouskaya, an honourary member of the Belarusian Union of Journalists, has been working as an editor of “Luninetskie Novosti” newspaper for many years. She says the Belarusian Union of Journalists and the Belarusian Association of Journalists are not able to start a dialog and cooperate so far, because the organizations have too many contradictions. "we have completely different media outlets and different views. We are a state-run newspaper. I am proud to say this. We do not have independent press. Every newspaper has its master. Ours is the state. It is normal. The BAJ has a different master..."
By the way, the BAJ, as well as the Centre for Social Innovations, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Research, the Minsk Capital Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions and other Belarusian NGOs were invited to take part in the forum.