BTRC EBU
Logo: BTRC/EBU

Belarus’ Eurovision broadcaster BTRC has been expelled from the European Broadcasting Union. The Minsk-based station will no longer be eligible to access a number of EBU services, including entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.

This rules out a Belarusian participation in Italy 2022 and makes Belarus’ return to the contest extremely unlikely.

Belarus: BTRC expelled from the EBU

As reported by independent Belarusian radio station Euroradio, on Wednesday 30 June, the EBU held a meeting to discuss BTRC’s future in the union.

There the EBU decide that from Thursday 1 July, BTRC will no longer be able to access EBU services. These services include the exchange of news and music content, the right to broadcast EBU sporting and music events, legal and technical research expertise and interest protection services.

This includes Belarus’s right to be able to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, among others. For a country to be allowed to compete in Eurovision, it must be represented by a broadcaster with EBU membership. With BTRC’s exit, Belarus has no member stations represented in the EBU.

To date, Belarus is one of only two countries to have competed in every edition of Junior Eurovision since its founding in 2003. Belarus will not be able to compete in the upcoming Paris contest.

This is the first time a country has been unable to compete in Eurovision due to being expelled from the EBU.

Why did the EBU expel Belarus’ BTRC?

BTRC’s expulsion from the EBU, while sudden, is not unexpected.

In May 2021, the EBU’s Executive Board suspended BTRC from the union following the arrest of opposition activist Roman Protasevich and the silencing of Belarus’ largest independent media portal.

In their original statement, the EBU wrote:

“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.”

The original proposed suspension allowed the government-linked broadcaster two weeks to respond. While they did not do so publicly, it is not known if they responded privately to the EBU.

The broadcaster was also forced to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam after the EBU declared Galasy ZMesta’s entry “Ya nauchu tebya” to be in breach of Eurovision rules and going against the apolitical nature of the song contest. The group’s subsequent entry “Pesnyu pro zaytsa” also contained pro-government messaging, which ultimately led to the country’s disqualification from the 2021 contest.

While this incident is not listed as an official reason for BTRC’s suspension and later expulsion, it is reflective of many of the issues listed above in the EBU’s original statement.

The EBU are yet to comment on BTRC’s expulsion from the union.

Read more Belarus Eurovision 2021 news here

Comments on this post are now closed.

99 Comments
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Vytautas
Vytautas
29 days ago

That’s bit of a strange outcome knowing Russia is constantly suppressing freedom of speech and trying to poison independent journalists. Stuff happening in Azerbaijan vs Armenia, possible return of Turkey or acceptance of Kazakhstan, Spanish authority actions against Catalan pro-independence movement are a few issues I would address as EBU being quite hypocritical. Don’t you say that Belarusians deserve free media more than Russians or Catalans. All of them should get warnings or expulsions then.

Kenneth
Kenneth
29 days ago

If Belarus are expelled for those reasons there are several other countries that should go the same way. Russia, Poland, Hungary to name a few.

Mar
Mar
29 days ago
Reply to  Kenneth

True

Nicolas
Nicolas
30 days ago

I thought EBU was apolitical….. They don’t want political songs but can decide to ban a country just because of politics. So much hypocrisy.

Mar
Mar
30 days ago

Russia should be gone as well

James
James
30 days ago
Reply to  Mar

What has Russia’s two broadcasters has done for them to be considered for expulsion?

Piet
Piet
30 days ago
Reply to  James

Defending stealing Crimea from Ukraine. Defending warmaking in Donbass. Hiding killing 300 people in the plane MH17.

Mar
Mar
29 days ago
Reply to  Piet

As a person from Donbass I agree

James
James
29 days ago
Reply to  Piet

Probably not the extra mile that BTRC has done with them replacing their entire staff. Channel 1 and Russia-1 know how important it is for them to have access to EBU services so they likely wouldn’t dare to get themselves expelled from the union.

Mariia
30 days ago

What about Russia?

Rasse
Rasse
30 days ago

I love how many of us have gone from: “We want as many countries participating as possible” to “No thanks, we’ll take human rights first”. Shows that in Europe we care about each other.

Celeste
Celeste
30 days ago
Reply to  Rasse

Of course … so when are we going to expel Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan? and why do people here cry every year because they want their little dictatorship aka Kazakhstan, in the contest?

beccaboo1212
30 days ago
Reply to  Celeste

No way would Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia be kicked out of the EBU.

Apollo
Apollo
30 days ago

Good riddance! When Belarus becomes a free state under the white-red-white flag – we’ll welcome them back with open arms.

Eugenie
Eugenie
1 month ago

I’ve got complicated feelings. I won’t miss Belarus, I can’t stand all their entries, but for me banning them is f#cking insincerity. Politics were always a part of ESC. It’s not fair to say that Belarus crossed that line. What about Jamala? I’m Ukrainian myself and song wise she’s one of the best Eurovision winners ever, but subtext of her entry was obvious. If you’re calling the track historic, than Belarus’s entry is a dance song. Also, you can disqualify song itself or country for year. There’s no need in disqualifying it for long time. And blah blah blah about… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Eugenie

Their expulsion has little to nothing to do with their recent disqualification from this year’s contest but the overall conduct and behavior of the broadcaster following the disputed elections in Belarus: The exodus of many BTRC employees and their immediate replacement with pro-Lukashenka staff, their coverage of the protests, and everything else that go against broadcasting union’s mantra of promoting independent public broadcasting as a whole.

hhhhurricane
hhhhurricane
30 days ago
Reply to  Eugenie

I’m sure that banning the entire soviet block can be arranged if you feel left out babes

Sot
Sot
30 days ago
Reply to  Eugenie

Look, I know Ukrainians like Belarus and stuff but you gotta be objective here buddy

Mariia
30 days ago
Reply to  Eugenie

I agree about Russia and Azerbaijan

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

The thing that really flabbergasted me about the whole thing this year was that even though Belarus’ government and BTRC have always been awful, they’d NEVER tried to pull this sort of thing before. The most jingoistic they’d ever been was “I Love Belarus,” and that was no more political than “My S?owianie” or “Swedish Smorgasbord.” No country, not even the ones with real democracy issues, was ever dumb enough to try and send a propaganda song and think they could get away with it. The fact that they did something so bizarre told me they were too far gone.… Read more »

Blackcat
Blackcat
1 month ago

How come Russia is eligible then?

sam
sam
1 month ago
Reply to  Blackcat

russia didnt break international law by bringing down a foreign civilian airliner to arrest an opposition journalist

Emma
Emma
1 month ago
Reply to  sam

No they sent agents to poison others abroad instead, that is not as bad i guess haha

Blackcat
Blackcat
30 days ago
Reply to  sam

They’re occupying Ukrainian territories if you have forgotten since 2014 and not just that.

sam
sam
30 days ago
Reply to  Blackcat

those things dont have to do with the russian broadcaster. the belarusian brodcaster has been complicit and used as a tool in lukashenkos games

Blackcat
Blackcat
30 days ago
Reply to  sam

The Russian broadcasters tell lots of lies to their people about Ukraine. Media is a great weapon if not the greatest if you use it correctly. Eventually people become like microchipped soldiers and you can do with them whatever you like but most importantly they support the actions of their government even if those actions are very unethical.

Mariia
30 days ago
Reply to  Blackcat

Same question

Blackcat
Blackcat
30 days ago
Reply to  Mariia

Ukraine hasn’t done anything to be expelled.

Mar
Mar
29 days ago
Reply to  Blackcat

True

Last edited 29 days ago by Mar
Mariia
29 days ago
Reply to  Blackcat

I know that

Azaad
Azaad
1 month ago

I think the issue is BRTC’s conduct, not what the Belarusian state is doing. The Israeli, Azeri, Turkish and Kazakh broadcasters aren’t reviled by their own citizens and aren’t actively mocking their own people, which is what the EBU takes issue with.

Danny
Danny
30 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Not to mention that quite a lot of current Israeli, Kazakh, Turkish artists are pro-LGBT/anti-government but are still living their life as normal unlike some particular singers from particular countries, iykyk.

Last edited 30 days ago by Danny
Patrick Pastor
Patrick Pastor
1 month ago

Belarus has never really had a history of democracy. The first Belarusian state (the Belarusian People’s Republic, or BNR) never had the chance to have elections, as they were invaded and obliterated within 5 months. When Belarus gained independence, the only elections that were considered free and fair were the 1994 presidential elections. Since then, they’ve been stuck with Lukashenko.

Bonus trivia: the Rada of the BNR is still active, holding the distinction of being the oldest extant government-in-exile.

esc_fl
esc_fl
1 month ago

Just read the BTRC’s statement on their expulsion from EBU; gotta say their claims are as real as the Maneskin drug allegations lol

Evan
Evan
1 month ago
Reply to  esc_fl

Do you have a link to the statement?

Vladimir P.
Vladimir P.
1 month ago

This is really disappointing. RTS, under it was a state broadcaster in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was banned from participating in Eurovision Song Contest from 1993 to 2003. I always thought this was a political decision which is why I don’t agree with this.
Participation of countries in sport and cultural events should not be based on politics. I don’t this should have happened.

Agent 007
Agent 007
1 month ago
Reply to  Vladimir P.

Especially when Eurovision has been one of the best ways to promote democratic values among the population of Belarus. Iron curtains and separatism are never a solution.

Azaad
Azaad
1 month ago
Reply to  Vladimir P.

Um, I think if a country is associated with war crimes like Serbia was in the 90s it’s not political to ban them: it’s justice.

Kat
Kat
1 month ago
Reply to  Vladimir P.

I was wrestling with similar thoughts, but I think the thing that’s helped me understand situations like this is that it’s not the COUNTRY that they are necessarily banning, it’s the BROADCASTER! The EBU isn’t punishing Belarus itself for its political strife, but BTRC the broadcaster for its specific actions that have contributed to said strife. The EBU can’t do much to affect foreign politics, but they CAN end an agreement with another corporation for actions they perceive to be unjust (or, less loosely speaking, that break their contract).

Eugenie
Eugenie
1 month ago
Reply to  Vladimir P.

We’re gonna be downvoted, but – yes. Politics aren’t the reason on song contest.

Donkey
Donkey
1 month ago

I find it so interesting and quite eerie and creepy that Aliens will be Belarus’s last ever eurovision entry.

esc_fl
esc_fl
1 month ago
Reply to  Donkey

It was a lovely JESC entry; kind of ironic that BTRC didn’t practice what the song preached

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  esc_fl

I felt so bad for that girl, since by that point everything related to BTRC made me ridiculously uncomfortable, and I didn’t like them more or less using her as a government puppet when she was very talented.

Donkey
Donkey
30 days ago
Reply to  esc_fl

Exactly. A song that preached for making changes to our world and how aliens would be disgusted if they arrived at this world, is the song that ended Belarus’s participation. A country that has trapped civilians in their dictatorship. It’s very haunting in a way

Aeria
Aeria
1 month ago

Oh the hypocrisy of BTRC’s statements are just so fun to read

Last edited 1 month ago by Aeria
BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Aeria

I read an article on another Eurovision news site that included an English translation of the Belarusian press release after expulsion and I didn’t know whether to vomit or laugh.

T.J.
T.J.
1 month ago

Obviously you have no idea what‘s going on in Belarus, or else you wouldn‘t make such unfitting comparisons.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  T.J.

The exact same thing is happening in Turkey but they want them back.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven

TRT must be doing things right through other means since they also still benefit from accessing EBU-related services as a full-member. They just didn’t opt to take part in ESC since 2012.

Danny
Danny
1 month ago

It’s not just about human rights protection, the thing is that Israel and Azerbaijan had never sent songs that contained enough of blatant political promotion for the EBU to take any action (Israel 2007 could an exception though but the message was rather subtle), unless you see Skeletons or Golden Boy as songs with political intent, that’s to your interpretation anyway. Also take note that the BTRC replied to their own expellation by glorifying the COVID deniers in the Netherlands as well as the oppression in Ukraine a few years ago, it’s basically crossing the line even more than the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Danny
Nate
Nate
1 month ago

Not bad. However, then you see the EBU trying to bring Turkey back or allowing Israel, Russia or Azerbaijan to compete

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate

Not to get into it, but don’t lump Israel into this. They’re not a dictatorship and Kan has been pretty openly anti-Netanyahu

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

KAN’s membership into the EBU alone was a big middle finger against Netanyahu’s intent of spunning public media off into several outfits (a.k.a. KAN will be entertainment-based without its own news department) as some initially feared.

Azaad
Azaad
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I’m no fan of most of the Knesset, but KAN itself doesn’t appear to be egging on a bad government in the way BRTC was – for what it’s worth I don’t any broadcaster was as bad as BRTC, but governments are another matter.

Maya G
Maya G
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

They’re not even really anti-Netanyahu, just not pro-Netanyahu which is what Netanyahu wanted, and too independent to be controlled or influenced by politicians (ironically thanks to legislation passed by Netanyahu’s government several years ago).
Anyway, Netanyahu is no longer in power and the new Israeli unity government is not trying to sabotage KAN.
Many were skeptic at first, but KAN quickly proved itself to be a very competent and creative broadcaster, and became very prominent and influential in Israel.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate

Agreed. This is just insane.

acp
acp
1 month ago

EXACTLY, and some eurofans have that way of thinking too…

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
1 month ago

Goodbye, Belarus… 🙁

Denis
Denis
1 month ago

I feel sad for the people of Belarus, the civilians who now got robbed of some prime entertainment. Most of them are anti-Lukashjenko..

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Bye-larus

Sot
Sot
1 month ago

I first felt a Déjà Vu when I saw the title and thumbnail but… then I understood. Yes, I’m sad because Belarus has had some decent songs over the years and they’re still one of those few countries that have never achieved even a top5. Well, in normal Eurovision that is, because in JESC they slay every time so it’ll be sad to goodbye them from pretty much everywhere, although the broadcaster DESERVES IT. The people absolutely not

Branko86
Branko86
1 month ago
Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Branko86

“Who needs the Kwik-E Mart? Not me!”

Hyunwoo
Hyunwoo
1 month ago

Goodbye Belarus…

Viggz
Viggz
1 month ago

Sad, gonna miss them in Eurovision. I really love some of their songs. But this is probably the right decision.

Eurobloggs
Eurobloggs
29 days ago
Reply to  Viggz

Me too. I loved both Belarus’ Eurovision-entries and Eurofest, their national selection.

Hopefully there will be democracy in Belarus soon and then they might return.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
1 month ago

I had a feeling that it would come to this. Everything that has gone down in Belarus since those elections has been there for all the world to see…and none of it has been positive. This was pretty much not surprising.

Ern
Ern
1 month ago

NOT defending Belarus, but if you apply this same standard to other countries, half of Eastern Europe will be out of the contest.

For example, take a look at Turkey. They’re currently negotiating a return into the contest, yet press freedoms there are abysmal. Will this bother the EBU? Probably not.

Also, why isn’t Russia getting kicked out? Or, for that matter, Ukraine?

Or, maybe Azerbaijan, which is right now busy erasing Armenian heritage as we speak. That bother the EBU? Probably not.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ern
Colin
Colin
1 month ago
Reply to  Ern

Belarus obviously went a step further than countries mentioned above. EBU usually has a high bar of tolerance, otherwise many more countries would be sanctioned. All those you’ve mentioned, and probably more (I mean, the director of HRT was arrested yesterday with charges of corruption). However, the interferance with staged elections, and condoning the literal violence was a step too far. A bonus info, regarding ESC, is that Russia sang about female liberation, Ukraine about the spring, while Belarus sent a song about being obidient to the dictator.

Blackcat
Blackcat
1 month ago
Reply to  Ern

Why Ukraine? Have they attacked other countries?

Mariia
30 days ago
Reply to  Ern

What do you mean by Ukraine lol

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago

is there no non-corrupt Belarusian broadcaster that can apply for membership, or is it only BTRC?

Peter van Zyäi
Peter van Zyäi
1 month ago

Moral of the story: Don’t Get too Political!

On the other hand, I hope that Armenia will return next year in Italy after one year of absence (They better send Athena to achieved fulfilled her goal to Eurovision after the the one from 2020 was cancelled, and also this country sent a lot of great songs in previous years, like Qele Qele, Jan Jan, Apricot Stone, Not Alone and LoveWave)

TobGor
TobGor
1 month ago

After reading the first line my head started singing ‘Love is forever’ by Leonora from Denmark (2019). You knoww….

‘ Why we make it tough, the world has had enough
Don’t get too political
And who are we to judge? It doesn’t take too much
Only just a miracle

LOVE IS FOREVER!

Good Message that more people in this world should take to heart

Last edited 1 month ago by TobGor
Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  TobGor

No wonder it got a great response in Israel when I was there. Nobody wants things to get less political than your average Israeli citizen.

Shuma
Shuma
1 month ago

“This is the first time a country has been unable to compete in Eurovision due to being expelled from the EBU.”

Wasn’t Yugoslavia/Serbia banned in the 90s until 2004?

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Shuma

Still in the EBU, seeing as they broadcast every contest between their leaving and debuting as Serbia and Montenegro

Heartbeater
Heartbeater
1 month ago
Reply to  Shuma

They weren’t expelled they were not allowed to participate however they could still broadcast the show

Milan
Milan
1 month ago
Reply to  Heartbeater

I think we didn’t broadcast the show only in 1993 and 1999 (in 1999 we were busy being bombed).

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Milan

Hence the Hallelujah sing-along

Jenny
Jenny
1 month ago

Good decision!

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
1 month ago

honestly f the ebu for this. pretty sure belarus would’ve returned to sending non political songs, so no need for the ebu to do this.

Max
Max
1 month ago

Oh…no they not! You clearly have no idea who is running BTRC! And next year for sure they would do something on the stage for revenge. Lukashenko is a very revengeful person. The whole country is experiencing his revenge right now and the Eurovision stage could experience that as well next year.

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

they wouldn’t do that though because they’d know that they would be disqualified.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

If they were smart, they wouldn’t have picked a political song in the first place, let alone tried to send another one.

Sot
Sot
1 month ago

You’re pretty much saying “Remove that muzzle from the dog, he may have bitten you once but he won’t do it again because he gained consciousness”

Max
Max
30 days ago

Ow they will do!!! And once they will be disqualified they will blame EBU with lack of democracy and freedom of speech. Ironically, ha? BTRC used by Lukashenko to lie about Belarusians who against him, to lie about EU. Did you know that on BTRC they told that EU is going to atack Belarus. They keep saying that EU, NATO has organised all the protests in Belarus and paid Belarusians to protests against Lukashenko. They keep trying to justify all the violence to Belarusians they have been doing since summer 2020 till now calling own people who against Lukashenko “enemies”… Read more »

Max
Max
1 month ago

Just red the news about exclusion of BTRC from EBU and can’t even express my happiness. The things they have been doing disgusting. Showing on TV people bitten by Lukashenko police and making those people confess on camera about things they have never done is a torture, is a crime.
Here in Belarus we love Eurovision and sooner or later democracy will win and Belarus will return to the contest and shine bright

Eurobloggs
Eurobloggs
29 days ago
Reply to  Max

I also really hope for democracy and Belarus’ return to the contest. I love both Belarus’ entries in Eurovision and their selection Eurofest.

Thanos
Thanos
1 month ago

Sooner or later it was going to happen unfortunately. Hope all countries that are tortured by authoritarianism will be able to free themselves soon! The situation in countries like Belarus, Hungary and Turkey is really worrying.

Last edited 1 month ago by Thanos
ROXELANA
ROXELANA
1 month ago

I wonder if it will take long to see them again.. most likely tho.

Hopefully, either Turkey or Kazakhstan or even the two can participate next year.

Jenny
Jenny
1 month ago
Reply to  ROXELANA

Turkey? No press freedom there either, also the homophobia seems to be strong still.

Kirby
Kirby
1 month ago

Enter Kazakhstan.

Blackcat
Blackcat
1 month ago
Reply to  Kirby

It’s not in Europe.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Blackcat

It’s broadcaster isn an associate member of the EBU and can be invited at the union’s discretion.

Darren
1 month ago

Sad for the actual people of Belarus who enjoy EBU programming and hate the Lukashenko regime.

But it’s for the greater good.

Hopefully we see a new, fresh, open and free Belarus participating in the future.

Eurobloggs
Eurobloggs
29 days ago
Reply to  Darren

Exactly! I read that it’s the most popular TV-program in Belarus. Also, many Eurovision-fans believe it’s the best country that hasn’t won yet.

Perhaps if Svjatlana Tsichano?skaja becomes the president, there is a chance for return!

btw
btw
1 month ago

Right decision.

Rick
Rick
1 month ago

I feel Like I’ve been kissed by the angels

Last edited 1 month ago by Rick