Back in May, we learned that Belarus’ BTRC would not be broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. This came as little surprise to those who followed the ongoing story of the broadcaster politicising their participation with an entry that breached the rules of the contest. Two weeks later, the EBU released a statement following a meeting with their Executive Board, who agreed to suspend Belarus Member BTRC from the union. Following BTRC’s recent statement, the suspension has been formalised and is now in effect.
This verdict essentially means that Belarus will no longer be able to participate in EBU programming, including Eurovision and Junior Eurovision for the foreseeable future, at least not via BTRC. Following the Executive Board’s verdict, BTRC had two weeks to respond before the suspension came into effect.
Last night, BTRC released a long and antagonistic statement criticising the EBU and several member states. The statement culminates in a confirmation that they will no longer be broadcasting or participating in Eurovision, and that they are also in talks with agencies to ‘take the place of the EBU’.
We will also save many millions of euros and fulfill the dream of the majority of Belarusians. No more Eurovision!Excerpt from BTRC’s statement
You can read the full statement here.
Statement from the EBU
Back in May, the EBU released the following statement:
The EBU has been closely monitoring the suppression of media freedom in Belarus and have consistently called on BTRC, as a Member of the EBU, to uphold our core values of freedom of expression, independence and accountability.
Since the disputed elections last summer, we have been campaigning for the protection of independent journalism and freedom of expression in the country. We have publicly supported journalists at BTRC who have been protesting against government interference.
We have also been monitoring BTRC’s coverage and have communicated our concerns to their management. In recent weeks, we have been particularly alarmed by the broadcast of interviews apparently obtained under duress.
We have also monitored other BTRC broadcasts on this issue which have raised other serious and quite exceptional concerns. In light of these exceptional developments, the Executive Board has no alternative other than to propose the suspension of BTRC’s membership of the EBU.
BTRC will have two weeks to respond, before suspension comes into effect.Statement from the EBU
Belarus in Eurovision 2021
Back in March, BTRC internally selected Galasy ZMesta to represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021. Their first entry, “Ya Nauchu Tebya”, was rejected by the EBU, ruling that the song “puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question“.
After the original ruling from the EBU, BRTC had the chance to submit a new entry. They received an extended deadline for their new entry. Following rumours spreading about the replacement songs submitted, the EBU later announced that a new song had indeed been put forward.
However, the EBU decided that the new song once again was in breach of the Eurovision Song Contest rules. The EBU did not confirm why the new entry was ineligible. It is however fair to assume that Galasy ZMesta’s second song once again contained lyrics of a political nature. The EBU therefore ruled that Belarus would no longer be taking part at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
Do you agree with the decision? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify and YouTube to see our reactions to the news in the run up to the 2022 national final season!