MINSK, 30 September (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has given an interview to the U.S. TV channel CNN, BelTA has learned.
Back on 9 August, at the big press conference in Minsk, Aleksandr Lukashenko had said that he was willing to give an interview to CNN. The press conference was attended by a CNN journalist who invited the Belarusian leader to give an interview.
“I am not ruling it out. Yet I have one condition: no editing,” the head of state said. “These are my terms. You can negotiate all the rest with my press secretary,” he added.
The interviewer was Matthew Chance, CNN's, senior international correspondent based in Moscow. The questions he asked were commonplace for the Western media. They were based on poorly done fake news and outright lies, most of which the head of state had refuted before. Yet, some fakes were new and quite unbelievable. For example, that migrants in Belarus are given narcotic drugs. Nevertheless, the Belarusian leader answered all the questions as frankly as possible. He spoke in detail about refugees naming the true reasons for the migration crisis and those to blame for it. He spoke about the failed ‘revolutionaries' who fled from Belarus. He commented on the lies and media outcry over the Ryanair jet landing in Belarus. He also talked about the country's COVID-19 response strategy and Belarus-Russia relations.
Following the interview, Matthew Chance talked to Belarusian mass media. He was asked whether CNN would meet the precondition voiced earlier to broadcast the interview in full. The answer was quite unexpected: We, at CNN, do not accept any restrictions on how to use interview materials, and we will broadcast the interview as we see fit.
As BelTA has learned, at the stage of pre-interview negotiations the Belarusian party insisted that CNN upload an unabridged version of the interview to its website and show several unedited parts on its TV channel. "They agreed to this. They okayed this," said one of the participants in the pre-interview negotiations.
Whether or not CNN has kept up its end of the bargain will be clear after the interview is aired. CNN has promised to show it in the coming days.
CNN was founded in 1980 by media mogul Ted Turner. It operates more than 35 foreign offices and broadcasts in six languages. CNN's potential audience exceeds 200 million viewers. The company's news is available in more than 200 countries and territories of the world.