MRT to reevaluate North Macedonia’s Eurovision 2021 participation

Withdrawal potentially on the cards for North Macedonia?

In a statement released tonight by MRT, North Macedonia have announced they will be reevaluating their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. The reason is public backlash against their entry, Here I Stand by Vasil Garvanliev. The broadcaster revealed their entry last week.

Internal commission to review

Head of Delegation Meri Popova released a statement tonight. She did so on behalf of the broadcaster, MRT. The statement reads that MRT have established an internal commission to review their participation in Rotterdam. Public relations attached to the song will be taken into account. They will also take into account the Macedonian obligations as a participating nation in Eurovision. The full statement is below:

Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) has established an internal commission, to review and analyze all aspects of the public reactions related to the Eurovision Song Contest. The public service broadcaster will also take into account the obligations as a participating country, as well as an active member of the European Broadcasting Network, where MRT is an integral part of the public service association in the European Union. The public will be informed about MRT’s final decision.

Meri Popova, Head of Delegation for North Macedonia

Public relations?

Part of the public relations Popova seems to be referring to is the petition that launched a couple of days ago. In just a couple of days, over 16,000 people have decided to sign the petition. In there, the organisers make a call to make sure Vasil Garvanliev will not represent his country at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. The main reason behind this is the alleged reference to Bulgaria in the video, where the colours of the Bulgarian flag were on display in the first version of the video. The Macedonian delegation later released a new video, but by that time, Vasil had already become the target of backlash in North Macedonia. Therefore, Vasil himself commented on the issue as well, stating:

There’s no politics in music, no race, no colour. There’s love, there’s humanity, there’s energy. If someone was offended by what I accidentally, not on purpose, did, I offer them my sincere apologies. I don’t apologise for who I am, but if I hurt anyone, no matter who you are, please forgive me.

Vasil to Sitel.mk

The current affairs, as well as the gravity of the statement coming from MRT is reason for concern. The Macedonian broadcaster will make their decision public in the next couple of days, with several options being on the table. From the statement, it seems withdrawal is a potential option for MRT. We have reached out to the delegation for confirmation of this potential scenario.

Below you can see a statement by Vasil, released by Sitel. ESCXTRA.com will be keeping you up to date with the situation in North Macedonia as it progresses. Stay tuned!

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