The Scoop🇧🇾 Belarus

🇧🇾 Swedish MEP demands EBU exclude BRTC from Eurovision

Swedish political party Liberalerna have started a petition to exclude BRTC from the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. It is not the first time the Belarusian broadcaster is facing these actions. Karin Karlsbro is leading the movement on behalf of her party.

BRTC facing new actions

Karin Karlsbro is the vice chairwoman of the European Union’s delegation for relations with Belarus. She has started a petition to demand action from the EBU once more. In order to call on the EBU to take further action against the regime in Belarus, Karlsbro has started seeking support for her motion in the European Parliament. In an interview with Swedish broadcaster SVT, the politician says:

The EU has created a list of people who have clearly violated basic human rights. The president of the Belarusian state broadcaster is on this list. It is unreasonable to organise a musical competition with a participating dictatorship.

Karin Karlsbro to SVT

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was the strongest opponent of Alexander Lukashenko during the 2020 elections, already stated she would look for support for the banning of BRTC in the European Parliament. Whether Tikhanovskaya is involved in Karlsbro’s petition is currently unknown.

Will the EBU take action?

The first call for action came in late January of this year. The Belarusian Foundation for Cultural Solidarity called upon the EBU to exclude state broadcaster BRTC. In the campaign, protestors demanded that BRTC would lose more than just its participation right in Eurovision. They also wanted the EBU to expel BRTC from broadcasting rights of the union. The campaign was not aimed against a potential Belarusian participation in Eurovision, but just the broadcaster itself.

Siarhei Budkin started the Foundation in October 2020 after the political crisis, which followed the elections in Belarus. The elections caused ongoing protests against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. Budkin said, about broadcaster BRTC:

BRTC today is not a media broadcaster, but an instrument of political pressure and propaganda.

Siarhei Budkin, president of the Belarusian Foundation for Cultural Solidarity

Soon after the Foundation’s call, the EBU responded. Noel Curran, the Director General of the EBU, said that they would not be excluding BRTC from the Eurovision Song Contest or the EBU itself. He states the EBU are closely monitoring the situation in Minsk. Curran added that they have also called on BRTC to “defend professional journalistic values and to ensure citizens have access to information that enables them to hear a plurality of views and form their own independent judgements”.

The EBU are yet to respond to Karin Karlsbro’s petition in the European Parliament. Previously, IIHF, the international ice hockey federation, decided to strip Belarus of their hosting rights for the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship. will keep you updated on the situation and the EU petition as it progresses.

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