Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Belsat TV to suspend many shows until January 3

Belsat TV will suspend many of its regular shows between November 26 and January 3 because of a severe lack of funding, Agnieszka Romaszewska, director general of the Polish-based Belarusian-language satellite channel, told BelaPAN.

News shows will continue to be broadcast, but they will not have hosts, she said.

"For the first time in five years, the rather modest means of Belsat have not been enough to last us until the end of the year," Ms. Romaszewska said.

According to her, Belsat TV's budget mostly consists of donations from the governments of Poland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the channel has failed to raise the necessary amount this year, she said.

In September, Belsat TV had to reduce its daytime broadcasting, she said.

"Our situation is not entirely hopeless," Ms. Romaszewska said. "That is, at present it is extremely bad, but I hope that we'll manage to improve it."

The shows that have their own sponsors will continue to air, including "I Have the Right," "Reporter," and "Belarusians in Poland," Ms. Romaszewska said.

She invited people to watch Belsat TV during the Christmas/New Year's period, noting that the channel had set aside some funds for the holiday season.

Belsat TV started broadcasting on December 10, 2007 under an agreement between Polish Public Television (TVP) and the Polish foreign ministry.

The channel describes its mission as providing "accurate and independent coverage of events in Belarus, Europe and the rest of the world."

Belsat TV began broadcasting six hours a day in July 2008 and increased its daily broadcasting to about 12 hours in June 2010.

A survey conducted in December 2010 established that Belsat TV was watched regularly or occasionally by nearly 930,000 people in Belarus aged over 18, or 11.2 percent of the total number, including 420,000 (5.5 percent) who watch it permanently. An additional 8.8 percent would like to watch it but could not for technical or financial reasons.