Some of us might have thought that Belarus drama would be over after Eurovision 2021, however the opposite is right!
In a special meeting today, EBU Executive Board agreed to suspend Belarus Member BTRC.
The decision follows concerning events that have occurred recently in Belarus.
Last Week’s Events
- The main independent news media website Tut.By was blocked by the Belarusian authorities.
The journalists claimed their offices were searched by agents from the Belarusian Financial Investigation Department.
The Ministry of Information reacted and said that the website posted prohibited information in a number of articles.
2. Belarus Activist Raman Pratasevich was arrested by the authorities in Belarus
Raman is considered to be one of the leading voices against the president Lukashenko.
He was on a flight from Greece to Lithuania on a path through Belarus.
Belarus air traffic control claimed that a potential security threat was detected on board.
Therefore, there was a need for an emergency landing at the nearest airport, in Minsk.
After landing, passengers disembarked and local authorities carried out security checks.
The common opinion is that the airplane landed in Minsk’s airport just to arrest Raman.
Back then, the band Galasy ZMesta was internally chosen by the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC to represent the country at Eurovision 2021. In the beginning, they submitted the song ”Ya Nauchu Tebya” (I’ll Teach You).
However, the song was too political to enter the contest.
EBU has decided to give the country a special time extension in order to submit another song for Eurovision 2021.
Galasy ZMesta sent another song for Eurovision 2021. The song has been carefully examined by the reference group. It didn’t meet the EBU regulations as well.
Therefore, Belarus was disqualified from Eurovision 2021.
EBU’s official statement was published on Twitter:
According to the EBU:
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 is the only Belarusian broadcaster to have membership of the EBU.
This means that Belarus will lose all the rights of being EBU‘s member, for example: Broadcasting and Participating in the Eurovision Song Contest.
During all those concerning events, BTRC was on Lukashenko’s side. They focused on other topics in their reports and claimed the protests just caused a mess in the country.
Belarusian broadcaster BTRC will have 2 weeks to respond before suspension comes into effect.