The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party has started camping in the European Parliament to remove Belarus state broadcaster BTRC from the EBU.
Following on the back of the camping of the Solidarity Fund for Culture in Belarus, The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party is collecting signatures in the European Parliament to have the EBU remove BTRC from the EBU. This move would in turn mean Belarus would no longer have the right to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Karin Karlsbro of the ALDE party is the Vice-President of the European Parliament Delegation to Belarus and wants to collect signatures of MEP’s to be attached to a letter that will be sent to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). This letter will be demanding that Belarus is not to be allowed to compete in the Eurovision song contest in Rotterdam this spring.
The EU so far has issued sanctions on a list of people who it believes are guilty of human rights abuses within Belarus, which includes the head of Belarus’s state television. However as the EBU unaffiliate with the European Union itself, it has no direct influence or power over the EBU. Meaning that the final decision on whether BTRC is removed from the EBU rests with the EBU.
On the matter of the issue of BTRC membership in the EBU, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has said in a statement that it does not intend to exclude its Belarusian partner from Eurovision, as the competition has no political agenda.
“I would like to stress that the Eurovision Song Contest is a music competition with no political agenda. We consistently and vigorously resist attempts for this cultural event to be instrumentalised for political ends. ” -EBU
You can read the full letter from the EBU here.
The calls for the state broadcaster of Belarus to be removed from the European Broadcasting Union have been growing. In January The Belarusian Foundation for Cultural Solidarity started campaigning to have the state broadcaster of Belarus removed from the European Broadcasting Union.
A social media hashtag #stopbt has been launched by the organisation demanding that BTRC is removed from this year’s contest. While Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian opposition had previously said she would raise the issue of BTRC in the EBU with EU Foreign Ministers in late January.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya had given her support to a campaign to have BTRC removed from European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Ms Tsikhanouskaya supports the move due to financial benefits that BTRC receives from ad revenue, the high ratings of the Eurovision Song Contest and the prestige it brings to BTRC.
Image Source: Mediasat | Source: SVT
Belarus debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 and has made it to the final on five occasions. Belarus’ best result in the contest came in 2007 when Dmitry Koldun finished 6th in the final with a total of 145 points. In total Belarus has qualified for the Eurovision final six times in sixteen attempts.