Logo: BTRC/EBU

The Executive Board of the Eurovision Song Contest parent organisation EBU has decided to suspend Belarusian broadcaster BTRC, its only Belarusian member.

The news follows a week of international media attention for the situation in Belarus following the arrest of Roman Protasevich and the silencing of the country’s largest independent media portal.

In a statement on its website, the EBU writes:

“At a meeting today the EBU Executive Board agreed to suspend Belarus Member BTRC.

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.

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 will have two weeks to respond, before suspension comes into effect.”

The exclusion of the BTRC from EBU membership would mean that the broadcaster would lose all kinds of rights to broadcast certain events. This includes the Eurovision Song Contest and major sports events.  Currently, BTRC is the only Belarusian broadcaster to have membership of the EBU. BTRC has two weeks to respond to the EBU.

BTRC and its role in the situation in Belarus

Belarusian state broadcaster BTRC has been linked to the protests since the start. While tens of thousands of peaceful protesters gathered on the streets throughout Belarus after the election, the subsequent BTRC news programme Panorama mostly focused on other topics, portraying those who took to the street as “hooligans”.

A mass resignation of BTRC employees followed, which included Eurovision commentator Evgeny Perlin.

BTRC tried to unsuccessfully participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Back in March, the Belarusian bid was rejected twice by the EBU for being “politically motivated” and for “bringing the contest’s reputation into dispute”. This eventually led to the disqualification of the country from Eurovision 2021.

Ever since being rejected from participating, the broadcaster ceased to report on the contest. Earlier, it was revealed that the broadcaster had decided to abstain from broadcasting the event for the first time in 20 years. BTRC did not report on the winner of the contest either.

Nevertheless, Eurovision stayed popular among the local audience. The live streams of the event were featured among the top trending videos on YouTube Belarus. Meanwhile, an alternative YouTube commentary on the contest by former BTRC employee Evgeny Perlin was followed by 60,000 people on the eve of the contest.

Read all our Eurovision Belarus news here

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Nate
Nate
14 days ago

I’m fine with Belarus receiving a sanction, but the EBU should then study other cases (Ukraine in 2017 with its prime minister homophobic comments regarding Eurovision, Maruv and banning Russia, Azerbaijan, Russian policies, Israel…)

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
14 days ago

At least Armenia’s broadcaster didn’t suspended tho 🙂
Bruh, if this same thing happens to Albania, Georgia, Moldova, North Macedonia and Slovenia, I will be more mad and I don’t want to lose any countries at Eurovision 🙁
I have to say that the death of a few Eurovision artists is worse!

Azaad
Azaad
14 days ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

Those broadcasters haven’t done what BRTC have done- also the EU haven’t imposed sanctions on them.

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
14 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Good to these broadcasters haven’t done! I feel worried about Belarus not be in the competition anymore, especially JESC.

beccaboo1212
14 days ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

Good thing countries like Armenia and Australia aren’t suspended. Don’t count on said countries to close the door on Junior Eurovision.

?? With preparations for JESC 2021 underway, David Tserunyan said Armenia could return.
?? The travel restrictions in Australia have yet to be lifted.

Ron
Ron
14 days ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

Why would Armenia get suspended? They haven’t done anything in violation of EBU rules.

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
14 days ago
Reply to  Ron

And I am also happy that Armenia didn’t suspended! Of course they didn’t violate EBU’s rules unlike Belarus! I am hoping that the country would welcome back for the 2022 contest! Fingers crossed for Athena Manoukian!

Nils
Nils
15 days ago

Always sad to lose a country, but it’s the right decision. Stay strong, people of Belarus!

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
14 days ago
Reply to  Nils

And more sad to lose a Eurovision artist who passes away

Last edited 14 days ago by Euro Fan
Colin
Colin
15 days ago

I am sorry for the artists and fans from Belarus who will feel even more isolated now. 🙁

BTRC had it coming, and again, despite all the comparisons with Russia, Azerbaijan, Israel, ect., it’s not the same. BTRC crossed the line by sending political songs and by blocking every non-politically convenient artist from participating. On the other hand, the Russian broadcaster has shown big strength by sending Manizha’s feminist anthem.

Grace
Grace
14 days ago
Reply to  Colin

Then they should have suspended Ukraine too, because everything that happened with Maruv, that was political, their troubles with Russia when they hold Eurovision (they don’t allow them in the country, and they did not want Bulgaria to participate either because Kristian Kostov performed at Crimea…). EBU doesn not treat everyone the same way. There are countries that can do anything and break the rules without any consecuences.

Roo
Roo
14 days ago
Reply to  Grace

These are political situations in Ukraine faced by everybody. The broadcaster in Ukraine is just stuck because of this political situation. The broadcaster in Belarus is not hamstrung by the political situation in Belarus though, it is actively supporting it and this is the difference.

Maartijn
Maartijn
15 days ago

I hope the decision will apply to Russia and Azerbaijan as well. Is there any other dictatorship I’m missing out?

Kal
Kal
15 days ago
Reply to  Maartijn

Turkey (for those who wish them back in the contest)

Maartijn
Maartijn
14 days ago
Reply to  Kal

Turkey should be banned from the earth.

ROXELANA
ROXELANA
14 days ago
Reply to  Maartijn

You are all so racist. Truly unbelievable.. why are you all so hateful?

Maartijn
Maartijn
14 days ago
Reply to  ROXELANA

I’m from Turkey lol and how am I racist? I didn’t discriminate any ethnic group or different skin color. I’m just hating on sh*t hole countries. I have every right to do that. They’re so effed up.

Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
15 days ago

Eventhough the broadcaster deserves it, this is very sad. Hopefully the situation will be resolved soon and they can get back into Eurovision.

Last edited 15 days ago by Fast Food Music Lover
Patrick Pastor
Patrick Pastor
14 days ago

That’s easy – get rid of Lukashenko and have honest-to-God free elections.

Alex
Alex
15 days ago

This means Belarus can’t participate in JESC.

Grace
Grace
15 days ago

I would agree if Russia and some other countries weren’t allowed to participate either. But, since EBU does not seem to care about what some governments do, I wonder why they are doing that. I mean, they have Belarus gone because they can, but they don’t have the b_lls to make Russia (polonio ‘cough, cough’) the same. So, sorry, I don’t think they are being fair.

ESC SSS
ESC SSS
15 days ago

And this means that Eurovision and Junior Eurovision 2020 could be their last participation 🙁

ESC SSS
ESC SSS
15 days ago
Reply to  ESC SSS

Also, Da Vidna and Aliens could be the last ESC and JESC entry as well

Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  ESC SSS

At least they left JESC with a high then

Lasse
Lasse
15 days ago

does that mean UK gets suspended for imprisoning Julian Assange

Rottendam
Rottendam
15 days ago

Does that mean we can Luxembourg and Slovakia back now

Alex
Alex
15 days ago

Bye bitch! Should have been out already. Azerbaijan should be next but you know they are friends with the west so no problemo for EBU…

russia is losing 24 points next year just like this year…

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
15 days ago

Okay, but can we get pre 2013 Bosnia & Herzegovina back pls?

Yep
Yep
15 days ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

If I remember correctly Bosnia & Herzegovina hasn’t participated because of the budget they have, I think the first step for them would be broadcasting Eurovision, but that costs aswell.

Maartijn
Maartijn
15 days ago
Reply to  Yep

Actually no, they’re not participating because they’re extremely homophobic/transphobic just like Turkey.

Ramones
Ramones
15 days ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

And what happened to Montenegro?

Jake
Jake
14 days ago
Reply to  Ramones

They spent their ESC budget in 2020 on cars for their staff or something instead. They also said that the poor results were a factor.

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
14 days ago
Reply to  Jake

And how about Georgia?

Ron
Ron
15 days ago

Excuse me, but BTRC is not the only corrupt, government funded, oppressive media outlet. Russia 1 and Russia 2 and Azerbaijan’s Ictimai TV squarely fall in the same category. In fact, the latter was literally created by the Azeri government so they could apply to take part in Eurovision and within 1 year of participation broke every EBU rule and got away with it. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – no oppressive regime should take part in Eurovision. What bothers me is the fact that EBU picks and chooses who they want to hold accountable which… Read more »

Bonny
Bonny
15 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Agree with every word!!

Bonny
Bonny
15 days ago

Till f**king Putin dies Lukashenko will not go anywhere, all his ‘power’ and ‘legality’ in bloody Putin hands, so no hopes for Belarus till Russia will not get rid of their dictator too

Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  Bonny

I feel like even Putin is kind of sick of Lukashenko at this point.

Jamie
Jamie
15 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Probably. But it’s his puppet, so he has to keep that cockroach alive.

Luc
Luc
15 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

If they were clever enough, they would change puppets every six years like Mexico used to

Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

True, but I think he’d prefer someone more low key. So long as the Belarusian government maintains a pro Russia foreign policy I think Putin wouldn’t care too much about Belarus’s domestic policy.

esc2021rotterdam
esc2021rotterdam
15 days ago

Sad to hear but understandable due to the recent events in the country and movement caused by the government. I hope that one day Belarus will be free and that they’ll finally come back to esc

Jamie
Jamie
15 days ago

They’ll probably mock the EU in their “response”. That’s how f-ed the regime is. I’m just sorry for the Belarusians… they are so hopeless :/

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

who cares what a dictator will say? The people of Belarus know the truth.

dygh
dygh
15 days ago

It’s great to see the EBU calling them out. It won’t actively change the situation, but it sends a message. I hope the Belarussian people soon get their country back in their own hands.

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  dygh

Still better than letting them take part.

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
15 days ago

But this also means that Belarus won’t be at this year’s Junior ESC in December, too, doesn’t it?

Efraim
Efraim
15 days ago
Reply to  Ethan1994

Most likely.

Jamie
Jamie
15 days ago
Reply to  Ethan1994

Yes. JESC is still EBU’s property.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
15 days ago

I truly wish the people of Belarus all the best during this difficult time.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
15 days ago

correct decision. btrc is held hostage by an illegitimate, non-democratic government supported by only 3% of belarusians. as long as that’s the situation, it’ll be unable to represent belarus correctly.

impressiveinstants
impressiveinstants
15 days ago

I cannot remember a year without a Belarussian controversy. Maybe 2015 with Uzari and Maimuna? Other than that, there is always drama, rumors of corruption within the selection processes, bizarre entries, sudden change of entries, disqualifications… this sounds like it was long overdue.

Luc
Luc
15 days ago

Even this year before the whole Galasy ZMesta drama there was plenty of controversy as they had organized a National Final which suddenly disappeared

Lollipopmonster
Lollipopmonster
15 days ago

Okay, Belarus in JESC and ESC is history now …..fine …..can we get now Kazakhstan in the ESC please.

Luc
Luc
15 days ago

I would love to see Kazakhstan, but they have a regime as well…

Nils
Nils
15 days ago
Reply to  Luc

Yet, so does Azerbaijan, too. But as long as they stick to the rules (which they finally appear to do), I’m fine with them competing.

raylee
raylee
15 days ago

They’re not coming back again.. Just like Hungary and Turkey…

Lollipopmonster
Lollipopmonster
15 days ago
Reply to  raylee

I feel hate and I don’t feel sorry for that dictatorship but I feel sorry for the fans and the artists in Belarus.

raylee
raylee
15 days ago

ah yes me too…

ROXELANA
ROXELANA
15 days ago
Reply to  raylee

I don’t want to be too hopeful, but I’m starting to think that Turkey will return very soon, maybe even next year. Unlike previous editions, this year’s contest got much attention by the Turkish media and Turkish singers. Two famous Turkish singers, Demet Akalin and Ece Seckin tweeted about the contest and Demet even said something like “Why don’t we participate anymore? We should return as soon as possible or sign a petition” or something like that. Ece Seckin even stated that she would love to represent Turkey in the near future, while Demet Akalin made a joke by saying… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by ROXELANA
raylee
raylee
15 days ago
Reply to  ROXELANA

hi , as i know there is a huge Eurovision interest there. Not only things you said , there is really too much attention. but things are up to the channel not the people , and don’t be too hopeful because the channel still doesn’t want to come back.
Also i have friends from Hungary and their new government is anti-LGBT sadly , seems like they’re not coming back either.
Bosnia Hersegovinna should solve their economic problems to be back.
Sooo we’ll wait and see but it would be great if we have more countries in our diversity chain 🙂

Last edited 15 days ago by raylee
Erasmus
Erasmus
15 days ago
Reply to  ROXELANA

yeah, this all seems nice but in the past, a lot of other Turkish artists were also in favour but nothing came out of it…

I think that Turkey won’t return before 2023…

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
15 days ago
Reply to  ROXELANA

Unfortunately I don’t think Turkey will ever return to Eurovision as long as their current government is still in charge. Same applies to Hungary.

Kal
Kal
15 days ago
Reply to  ROXELANA

Turkey reentering the contest while Belarus is thrown out (and quite rightly so) would be utter hypocrisy. With dozens of journalists having been imprisoned and Erdogan having seized total control over turkish media, Turkey ranks 153rd out of 180 countries in the RSF press freedom index (Belarus is 158th).

Alex
Alex
15 days ago
Reply to  raylee

EBU is kicking them out, didn’t you read?

But yeah all the dictatorships are staying out of ESC and we’re happy.

Una
Una
15 days ago

If this suspention would only bring a change in Belarus. It won’t happen.

Kudos to EBU though. It’s a first, isn’t it?

MaskedKami
MaskedKami
15 days ago
Reply to  Una

Nope. Yugoslavia got banned from the contest in the 90’s, and Serbia & Montenegro didn’t end up competing until 2004 for that reason.

tvescfan
tvescfan
15 days ago
Reply to  MaskedKami

The suspension of Yugoslavia was based on UN sanctions against them I believe.

MaskedKami
MaskedKami
15 days ago
Reply to  tvescfan

I also think that was the case, so the situation isn’t exactly the same.

Jamie
Jamie
15 days ago
Reply to  Una

EBU is not dumb. Of course they know that this action will have no effect on the regime, but at least they’ve proved that they DO have a moral compass.

Safiya
Safiya
15 days ago

Sad to see another country go, but in these circumstances there is no other possibility.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
15 days ago
Reply to  Safiya

With a suspended broadcaster, Belarus can’t participate at Eurovision. I don’t think we’re gonna see them again for a while

Sot
Sot
15 days ago

So that basically means that Belarus won’t be joining us again unless they finally become a democracy… so that’s another reason why Lukashenko should go! Belarus, we want you and your… interesting acts back in ESC ASAP!

Jamie
Jamie
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

Free Belarus would bring waaay better acts to Eurovision though! They have lots of talented artists who never applied because of the corrupt selection process.

Luc
Luc
15 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

Indeed, they have a lot of interesting acts that are prominent in the underground scene. Would love to see Molchat Doma representing them.

lol
lol
15 days ago

Belarus most likely isint returning next year. ebu should try hard to debut Kazakhstan and bring back Andorra to balance it out. Hungary definitely isint coming back either

Last edited 15 days ago by lol
BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
15 days ago
Reply to  lol

Or hopefully Armenia can recover enough to return next year. I think Belarus is definitely out of contest for the time being.

Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

I think Armenia really wanted to come back in 2021 and cancelled at the very last minute (the only reason they didn’t get a sanction for it from the EBU was because of mitigating circumstances) so they’ll want to return for 2022.

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
15 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Yeah, I think Armenia will be back next year. They were just so overwhelmed with problems that prevented them from preparing for the contest. I hope 2022 will be their comeback year.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
15 days ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

i’m pretty sure it was just one year off for armenia, to heal their finances a bit. it’s clear they want to be in the competition and they’re always welcome !

Sot
Sot
15 days ago
Reply to  lol

And Montenegro! And Kosovo if they get accepted…

Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

Kosovo isn’t appearing unless they get UN membership. Otherwise it’ll be seen as a provocation against Serbia, especially when Kosovar Albanians can represent Albania.

Stephanie
15 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Kosovo also has to join the International Telecommunications Union if RTK wants to seek EBU membership – it’s in the rules

esc_fl
esc_fl
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

I would LOVE to see Kosovo (and Kazakhstan and Liechtenstein) in Eurovision, but it’s a bit tricky since its sovereignty status is disputed

Efraim
Efraim
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

Montenegro left because their network needed new cars. Unless something like that arises again, I think they’ll be back in the game soon.

As for Kosovo… I just can’t see it happening right now. EBU members first need to be members of the International Telecommunication Union, which Kosovo’s RTK can’t apply for due to Kosovo not being a UN member state. A proposal to remove the ITU requirement was shut down by a majority of EBU members voting against it in 2019.

Ethan1994
Ethan1994
14 days ago
Reply to  Efraim

Montenegro left because their network needed new cars. Unless something like that arises again, I think they’ll be back in the game soon.”
Lol, wut? Is that basically what happened? I’ve very interested.

Voix
Voix
15 days ago
Reply to  lol

Lol they won’t come back the next 4 years at least

Efraim
Efraim
15 days ago
Reply to  lol

Some reports claim that Andorra’s working on a comeback. They’re the last remaining member of the never-finalists’ club; hopefully they’ll earn their way out of it at some point.

Erasmus
Erasmus
15 days ago
Reply to  Efraim

Andorra according to eurofestivales already confirmed that it won’t return.. 🙁

Kaitlin
Kaitlin
15 days ago
Reply to  lol

Andorra are out unfortunately

Liam Lindsay
Liam Lindsay
15 days ago

I hope the EBU does this delicately as this could turn really egg-y really quickly and the people of Belarus gave suffered tremendously, hopefully this will be a fast and swift resolution.

Nobody Important
Nobody Important
15 days ago

Should I feel sorry for them? the only ones I feel sorry for are the Belarusian artist like VAL who had nothing to do with this. They all deserve so much better!

Anna
Anna
15 days ago

Sigh, feel sad for the people that have to suffer the consequences of their power hungry, narcissistic politicians actions…

Last edited 15 days ago by Anna
Sebastián
Sebastián
15 days ago

Good for the EBU. Now, why don’t they have the same behavior with Azerbaijan? That is an open question

Princess Diana
Princess Diana
15 days ago
Reply to  Sebastián

Because the people and the government in Azerbaijan don’t have problems with each other and our broadcasting channel does not insult other contestants? Fair enough?

Sot
Sot
15 days ago
Reply to  Princess Diana

You literally sent a fascist woman to perform this year…

ROXELANA
ROXELANA
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

Cause, according to you, only Azerbaijani artists are facicsts, right? Meanwhile Armenian singers are always the most peaceful ones… your double standard is ridiculous

Bombalurina
Bombalurina
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

.

trabzan
trabzan
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

@sot then what do you think about this Iveta’s photo?

https://mobile.twitter.com/Trlan69817546/status/1373591551377600514/photo/1

Last edited 15 days ago by trabzan
Nils
Nils
15 days ago
Reply to  Sot

But as long as her entry isn’t fascist, there’s nothing one can do.

Sot
Sot
14 days ago
Reply to  Nils

That’s true, but let’s be honest, Efendi was only chosen because of THAT behavior…

ROXELANA
ROXELANA
15 days ago
Reply to  Sebastián

Gosh, it gets annoying. What is your problem with Azerbaijan? For God’s sake..

Last edited 15 days ago by ROXELANA
Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  Sebastián

The issue is how BTRC itself has treated Belarusian citizens, Ictimai as a broadcaster hasn’t done the same thing to Azeris.

esc_fl
esc_fl
15 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

I think the issue is Azerbaijan’s human rights issues to Armenians during the aftermath of last year’s war, although I believe the opposite occurred a couple of decades back? I would like to know more about the conflict and frankly I don’t think our news outlets do it justice. I’m not sure where the broadcaster plays a role in this, but it’s most likely not the same as Belarus. BTRC had a huge role to play in that case.

Azaad
Azaad
15 days ago
Reply to  esc_fl

The Armenian Azerbaijan conflict doesn’t have a good side per say – it’s two countries fighting over territories and throughout the history of the conflict both of them have done unsavoury things.

Alo
Alo
15 days ago
Reply to  Sebastián

Leave Azerbaijan alone…im guessing you’re not from there neither so you don’t really know anything..

esc_fl
esc_fl
15 days ago

I’m surprised this didn’t come sooner, as Belarus had repeatedly come under worldwide criticism for its portrayal of the protesters and political rivals. I believe this is a step in the right direction. Praying for those who wish to look out for the Belarusian people and not for themselves (that goes for every country!), and if they continue in Eurovision in the future, I hope that it will be reflected in their music.