🇧🇾 EBU suspends Belarusian broadcaster BTRC until further notice

🇧🇾 EBU suspends Belarusian broadcaster BTRC until further notice

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision to suspend the Belarusian state broadcaster BTRC. As a result, this means that Belarus will not be present at any Eurovision event until further notice.

How did BTRC get suspended?

Belarus has been in the grip of a political crisis after a presidential election in August 2020 resulted in widespread protests against incumbent Alexander Lukashenko. Further information on the conflict can be found here. The ensuing instability in the country contributed to the disqualification of Belarus in the run-up to the 2021 Contest in Rotterdam.

In 2021, Belarus was meant to send the band Galasy Z Mesta to represent the nation. However, their entry – “Ya Nauchu Tebya” – was found to be in breach of the Contest’s rules regarding political lyrics. Facing immense pressure from the opposition, the band prepared a second song for Eurovision. This song was also found to break the rules and brought the Contest’s apolitical nature into disrepute. As a result, Belarus was disqualified from the Contest.

You can listen to Galasy Z Mesta’s original song for Rotterdam here:

The response from the EBU

In a statement, the EBU said:

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.

[…]

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.

– Statement from the EBU

Where do we go from here?

By being suspended from the EBU, BTRC has now lost all rights to broadcast much European content – most notably, both Eurovision and Junior Eurovision, where Belarus is one of the most successful nations. Belarus first joined the Junior Contest in 2003, debuting in the adult Contest the following year.

The suspension will mean that until further notice, Belarus will be ineligible to compete in either Contest.

Belarus’ broadcaster BTRC has two weeks to respond to the suspension before the decision takes effect.

News Source: EBU

Photo Source: Galasy ZMesta

What do you make of the decision? Should BTRC be disqualified by the EBU for its role in the crisis in Belarus? When do you think we will see Belarus compete again? Let us know in the comments below or at social media. Don’t forget to follow ‘That Eurovision Site’ over at FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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