17 January 2018, Wednesday, 11:58

Natallia Radzina: We must counter Kremlin's information aggression


Why does charter97.org have to seek financial support from the website's readers?

Radio Svaboda talked to website editor Natallia Radzina to figure out why Charter'97, which has been existing for 16 years, is looking for financial aid.

– Why does the website Charter'97 have to seek financial aid from its readers?

– We need it, because the site audience has increased several times. We don't have money for our activity. We appreciate the aid from the Polish authorities and other partners. But unfortunately, this is not enough, taking into account that we have far more work to do and cannot increase our staff.

– What is the site's audience today?

– In peak moments, we have up to 500,000 unique visitor a day. The average number of unique visitors a day is 300,000-400,000, and 4 million unique visitors a month.

– How is the working process organised? Are there any journalists in Belarus?

– We have journalists in Belarus. We have information sources and authors, who write article for us. Besides, citizen journalism works good. We receive much information directly from our readers. We check it and publish it on the site.

People wrote to us, because they know we work without censorship and the fear of being arrested. We passed through it in Belarus. I'd like to recall that Aleh Biabenin, the founder of the site, was killed, I was thrown into jail. Today, with the headquarters of Charter'97 in Poland, we have an opportunity to do more without the fear of facing repression. People know it and send plenty of information about events in their towns. We publish it and know that the authorities have to react.

– You have the highest traffic in Belarus, according to website rating system Akavita. What else do you want to achieve? How do you plan to develop?

– You cannot be completely satisfied with what you have achieved. You should strive for more. What concerns Akavita, I can say that it counts only visitors from Belarus, but many people from Ukraine and Russia read our site. So, being the Belarusian website, we've become a regional project.

We are going to continue our work, because we see the situation in the region. We need to counter the Kremlin's information aggression. I am speaking not only about Charter'97, but about other Belarusian media.

I am convinced that all independent media have the same problems today that Charter'97 has. We should realise that we cannot work if we have to constantly struggle for our existence. We must be sure that we will continue our work tomorrow.