Belarus: EBU enforces officially BTRC's membership suspension

Belarus: EBU enforces officially BTRC's membership suspension
Thursday, 01 July 2021

  • EBU implemented today their previous decision on BTRC and suspended officially the membership of the Belarusian national broadcaster. 

    The last act from the drama around BTRC's breach of rules and membership suspension took place today with EBU enforcing its previous decision that wanted the Belarusian TV cooperation out of EBU. 

    This is the last episode of a drama that started back in March when BTRC was disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 after the submitted Galasy Zmesta's entry failed to fulfill EBU's requirements for Eurovision songs. After today's development  a Eurovision participation of Belarus in next year's contest seems not feasilbe.

    Following that development the EBU had released back in May 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.


    Following the Executive Board’s verdict, BTRC had two weeks to respond before the suspension came into effect. Thus, having no other new elements on the table for a different decision the EBU enforced that initial decision to which BTRC showed no intention of complying with but the opposite releasing last evening a rather offensive response towards EBU which you can fully read here.

    BTRC's final suspension means that the country will no longer be able to participate in EBU programming and won't be able to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest or Junior Eurovision, at least through BTRC. 


    Belarus in Eurovision 

    Belarus has been participating in Eurovision since 2004 without missing an edition since its first participation. Its best placing so far was in 2007 with Dmitry Koldun and Work Your Magic which finished 6th in the final. This remains Belarus’ only top ten placement. Belarus also qualified for the final in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019. On the other hand its worst result came in 2006 with Polina Smolova who finished 22nd in the semi final.

    In 2018 Alekseev represented the country with his song Forever but unfortunantely didn’t make it to the final as he finished 16th in the 1st semi final. In the 2019 contest the country was represented by national final winner,Zena, who performed “Like it” in Tel Aviv . In 2020 the duo Val won the national final with their song Da vidna  but never made it to the Eurovision 2020 stage as the contest was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic. 

    Earlier this year in March and after months of silence regarding the country's Eurovision 2021 entey, BTRC, announced Galasy ZMesta for Rotterdamm who will be performing their song Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You)

    As soon as the song was released a massive wave of reactions flooded the social media and the media in general with voices asking from EBU not to accept the Belarusian song due to its politicial content. 

    EBU taking in mind the song's lyrics and whether they comply with the EBU's rules for the contest which forbid enties with political content in their text, has called on Belarus requesting the amendment of the lyrics , removing any political content otherwise they country will be disqualified. 

    Following this development BTRC submitted a new song before the agreed deadline, the EBU and the Reference Group, reviewed the new entry and concluded that the song does not comply with the contests rules. Therefore Belarus cannot participate in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.


    News Source: EBU/BTRC

    Image; ©