Television schedules show that the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC will not be broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
For the first time since 2003, the Eurovision Song Contest is not being broadcast in Belarus. The contest which is broadcast normally by public broadcaster BTRC does not feature on the channel’s schedule for the coming week.
Belarus was disqualified from competing in this years contest after failing to submit a song eligible to compete. Galasy Zmesta had been selected by BTRC to represent Belarus with the song “Ya Nauchi Tebya” (“I’ll Teach You”). The song has been criticised for lyrics mocking the Belarusian pro-democracy movement and was deemed to have been of a political nature by the EBU.
Following the reaction of “Ya Nauchi Tebya” (“I’ll Teach You”), BTRC submitted a new song, by the same artists but It was concluded by the EBU that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the Song Contest.
The full statement EBU read as follows:
On Wednesday 10 March we wrote to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to request that they take all steps necessary to amend their entry to this year’s event to ensure it is compliant with the rules of the competition. Following this BTRC submitted a new song, by the same artists, within an agreed timeframe.
The EBU and the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, carefully scrutinized the new entry to assess its eligibility to compete. It was concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition that ensure the Contest is not instrumentalized or brought into disrepute.
As BTRC have failed to submit an eligible entry within the extended deadline, regrettably, Belarus will not be participating in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in May.
Events in Belarus
In August 2020, the Presidential election in Belarus in which incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected to a sixth term was the subject of widespread claims of electoral fraud. International monitors have labeled the election neither free nor fair. Following the election, significant and widespread protests have occurred in Belarus.
The Belarusian broadcaster, BTRC, has been subject to a campaign for its removal from the EBU. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who stood as the main opposition candidate in the disputed 2020 elections, has given her support to this campaign. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya supports the move due to the financial benefits that BTRC receives from ad revenue, the high ratings of the Eurovision Song Contest, and the prestige it brings to BTRC. Participation in the contest requires a national broadcaster to be a member of the EBU.
Image Source: Mediasat | Source: BTRC