Representatives of Belarusian government-owned and private media companies have been invited to an interview with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Mr. Medvedev will meet with Belarusian journalists in Moscow on November 23. His press office would not comment on the meeting.
According to unconfirmed reports, among those invited to the meeting are the government-controlled television networks Channel One and ONT, the state newspapers Respublika and Zvyazda, the private pro-opposition newspapers Narodnaya Volya, Nasha Niva and Tovarishch, the Belarus version of Russia’s popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, the private economic weekly Belorusy i Rynok and the web portal TUT.by.
BelaPAN received the invitation as well.
Ivan Makushok, spokesman for the state secretary of the Belarusian-Russian Union State, expressed concern in an interview with a Russian radio station on November 16 that the pro-opposition newspapers had been invited to the interview.
"I would like to remind you that it is not just the opposition press, but it is the press that is hostile toward Belarus, Russia and the development of the Union State… There is no doubt that the newspapers are interested in undermining the good neighborly relations," he stressed.
Mr. Makushok said that the invitation to the pro-opposition media companies was "no gauntlet.""It is obvious that there was a wish to invite not only the pro-government press but also those media companies that call themselves dissident," he said.