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13 June 2024, 15:17

Distribution of funds among key tasks for Belarus’ new information minister

MINSK, 13 June (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko set a number of tasks for the newly appointed Information Minister Marat Markov. He also told the new minister to keep the program that he hosted on the ONT TV channel, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked Marat Markov and those who nominated him for the ministerial post why they thought he was the best candidate to fill in this position. “It’s one thing to work in a familiar domain. It’s a different thing to work as an official, especially a high-ranking one,” he noted.

First Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Maksim Ryzhenkov noted that the decision to nominate Marat Markov was not made overnight. There was time to think and weigh up all pros and cons, but Marat Markov appeared to be the most authoritative person in the media landscape who could handle running the ministry.

Marat Markov noted that the time is not easy, but the work on the TV channel was arranged quite well.

“Who will interview the most influential people?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked referring to Marat Markov’s program on the ONT TV channel that he used to host.

Marat Markov said that he is ready to stay on the air. Moreover, there were similar precedents in history when the program was hosted by ministers.

“The ministry will be your key area of responsibility. Yet, I will be glad if you keep hosting this program. But not to the detriment of your main work,” said the head of state.

Marat Markov agreed: “The ministry will be the main area of focus for me. Indeed, there are a lot of things to sort out there. Moreover, in the run-up to the election, it will be necessary to work on new media. The decisions that you made gave TV channels the necessary tools to do it. But they need more tools.”

The head of state warned the new minister that he would be personally responsible for this work. “You will be responsible for providing these tools. A lot of money was invested in them. And you must continue the programs that you have outlined,” he said. “Previously this work was the responsibility of Pertsov [Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Vladimir Pertsov, who led the Information Ministry]; I put him in charge of it because I trusted him. I trust Markov just as much. But the minister will bear responsibility for money, results, and new programs, although this might not be his direct task.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko explained the reasons for this increased level of responsibility: “You really are an exceptional professional, as the deputy head of the Belarus President Administration put it. You will have a bigger workload and a bigger responsibility. No need to provide assistance here. You should involve  everyone you need in this work. The ONT TV channel, the STV TV channel, and the First Channel, even though he [the head of the National State Television and Radio Company] has a status equal to a ministerial position. But he should be involved in this work in every way.”

One of the main tasks of the minister is distributing funds among various media projects and making sure the money is used efficiently. “Money, finances should be your main concern, you should be in control of it and distribute it thriftily. This is the main thing for me. Well, you can help a little organizationally. And everyone must work hard, Pertsov first of all,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

Marat Markov noted that he has experience of working as an auditor, thus, he is familiar with financial matters. In addition, having a law degree under his belt, he will be able to oversee the implementation of regulatory documents.

Aleksandr Lukashenko praised Marat Markov’s professional attainment. “We see that you are an established professional. The government acknowledges the foundation that you have laid working in mass media. And now we will use this foundation to slowly build the walls, the main building,” he said.

Returning to the topic of Marat Markov’s program, Aleksandr Lukashenko reiterated that he would welcome the minister’s decision to keep it going, however, this should not be detrimental to his new job. At the same time, he suggested looking for a replacement. “Before we leave, we need to find a replacement. They should be better than us. Therefore, find someone who will take over from you so that you will be able to focus entirely on your new job. You will supervise the process, conduct interviews with candidates. The new host should be really good. You should definitely find such a person. Hosting a program will be a distraction for you. After all, it takes a lot of effort to create good content. And you invest a lot of time and effort into doing it, you get to the depth of the matters that you discuss, I see it. You know the things you ask about, you understand some things intuitively. For this, you need to take a deep dive into the matter,” the president said.

“Those who will take over should keep the bar high, these should be educated, knowledgeable people. You will help little by little. You have left an imprint on this program, no matter who will come to replace you, your name will always be associated with it. This is your brand, so to speak. I have already thought about the future of this program as I was considering your candidacy... Indeed, the program is not bad, we will support it,” added Aleksandr Lukashenko.
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