“No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs”.
Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, European Broadcasting Union
Eurovoix’s Statement on Galasy ZMesta and Belarus’ Participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021
The Eurovision Song Contest was created to promote the shared values of Europe by uniting the continent through the international language of song. The event continues to be a symbol of peace and acts as a beacon of hope even in the darkest of hours.
On Tuesday the 9th March, the national broadcasting company, BTRC, opted to select the group Galasy ZMesta and their song “Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You)” to represent Belarus at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The lyrics of the song support a government agenda that silences its citizens and imprisons its journalists for speaking out over basic human rights issues.
The Belarusian population does not deserve to be represented by lyrics demanding that they “dance to the tune” of a violent dictatorship. Nor should a transphobic group supporting an illegitimate presidency have the right to sing on behalf of the country’s people.
It is the responsibility of the European Broadcasting Union to act in accordance with the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest and basic principles of morality in ensuring that Belarus change their entry for this year’s contest, or withdraw.
It is our responsibility as journalists to limit the coverage of Belarus’ participation in the event. It is also our obligation to expose the reality of a state-run broadcaster that transmits government ideology to its people and uses an international platform to display oppression. Therefore, Eurovoix will no longer report on the preparation and promotion of Belarus’ participation in the Eurovision Song Contest until action has been taken. We invite other journalists and news organisations to follow our lead.
Galasy ZMesta, (The Voices of the Town/of Reason) is a rock group from Baranovichi in western Belarus. The group is comprised of Dmitry Batukov, Evgeny Kardash, Maksim Ponomarenko, Evgeny Artyukh and Irina Sorgovitskaya. During the Belarusian pro-democracy protests, the band criticised the protestors and showed their support for Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus since 1994. The band have also been criticised for transphobic lyrics in some of their past songs. “Ya nauchu tebya” has also been criticised for lyrics mocking the Belarusian pro-democracy movement.