(Prague, Czech Republic--August 6, 2001) RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine announced today that RFE/RL broadcasts to Belarus have expanded in length, from four to eight hours per day on a variety of shortwave frequencies and from seven to ten hours on mediumwave via affiliate Radio Baltic Waves in Lithuania. RFE/RL's Belarus Service is also expanding the number of hours of original programming it produces, from three to five hours per day.
Dine said "the expanded broadcast schedule was launched today, one month in advance of Belarus' presidential election on September 9, so that RFE/RL can better provide the citizens of Belarus with comprehensive, balanced news, and analyses they will need to make an informed choice when they go to the polls."
Anecdotal reports from Belarus indicate strong and increasing listenership to the current RFE/RL programs.
The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors fully supports RFE/RL's expanded broadcasting to Belarus. The expanded RFE/RL Belarus broadcasts are being promoted not only by the service itself, but also on the broadcasts of RFE/RL's Russian and Ukrainian services. In addition, advertisements concerning the expanded broadcasts have appeared in about 20 Russian and Belarusian language newspapers serving Belarus. The doubling of broadcasts to Belarus is currently scheduled to continue until 30 September.