Eismont told how CNN journalist sought an interview with Lukashenko
The Press Secretary of the President of Belarus, Natalya Eismont, told Belarus 1 TV channel how persistently CNN journalist Matthew Chance sought an interview with President Aleksandr Lukashenko – as reported by BelTA
Natalya Eismont recalled that the request for an interview from a CNN representative was made in August during the Big Conversation with the President. “They asked their question – one of many identical – and at the same time asked the Head of State for an interview. This was just a win-win situation. Of course, the President promised them this interview during live broadcast to the whole world,” said the Press Secretary.”
However, until August 9th, 2021, according to Natalya Eismont, there was still quite a big and very interesting story. “Matthew Chance is an extremely persistent person in this regard. Starting from January-February 2021, he persistently wrote and called not only directly me, but also my friends, my colleagues, my relatives, having found their phone numbers. First of all, of course, I mean the Chairman of the Belteleradiocompany, my spouse. Matthew Chance agreed to organise this interview through all available channels, simply assuring us that this is an absolutely unique chance for all of us to make sure that the entire western world hears the President of Belarus,” she said.
“What happened next is already known to everyone. The interview itself was also very specific,” said the Press Secretary.
She does not exclude that western journalists are also mastering acting skills. “When they come to us, each of them has their own absolutely distinct and very seriously verified image. I graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of Arts and I know what I’m talking about. They maintain this image from the beginning to the end, regardless of how the interview goes. This cannot but lead to certain thoughts,” said Natalya Eismont.
The Press Secretary said that after an interview with CNN journalist Matthew Chance, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he was one of the most prepared journalists in his entire presidential career. “Here I will say, leaving three dots, that this person was prepared not only from the journalistic point of view. However, this is our assumption. Of course, in the first place, Matthew surprised us by this combination of such completely unrestrained persistence and the product that this journalist put out on the air. To be honest, it’s probably hard for us to imagine. You make such an effort in order to create what came out... Let it be so. This is also an experience for all of us,” summed up the Press Secretary.
She also recalled the subsequent interview of Aleksandr Lukashenko with the BBC. They also asked about it for a long time, but in an absolutely classical format, sending requests to the Press Service of the President and the Foreign Ministry. It so happened that, before the interview, the film crew that requested the interview was working at the Belarusian-Polish border on the refugee situation.
“We watched their reports regarding the general rhetoric of a year and a half towards Belarus in the western media and these reports were quite balanced. Moreover, of course, we hoped that our openness would play its role. Because they understood perfectly well that hundreds of journalists are from the Belarusian side, and there is no one from the Polish side,” noted Natalya Eismont. “Against the background of everything that is happening, we thought: well, people return from the border, they saw everything with their own eyes, let’s organise a conversation for them and see what will come of this. What came out of this, of course, everyone saw as well.”